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STA 







^sMMmMWj^wm^Mwmi i^ 



ORUMB¥bfiAlS&A&^ 



ON 



War, Revolution, and Peace 



^ 



■> 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



THE 

MENDE LANGUAGE 



CONTAINING 



USEFUL PHRASES 
ELEMENTARY GRAMMAR 
SHORT VOCABULARIES 
READING MATERIALS 



BY 

F. W. H. MIGEOD 



TRANSPORT OFFICXR 
GOLD COAST COLONY 



LONDON 

KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRtJBNER & Co., Ltd. 

DRYDEN HOUSE, 43 GERRARD STREET, W. 

1908 



\\o^'\ 



-ISSOf^ 



Richard Glat A Sons, Limited, 

BRKAD STREKT HILL, E.C., AND 
BUNGAY, SUFFOLK. 



INTRODUCTION 

The Mende nation is located in the eastern part of the Sierra 
Leone Protectorate. As to its origin I have been unable to 
obtain any information, but if its recent movement be any 
indication, the general direction of its migration would seem 
to have been southerly. In the fourth decade of the nine- 
teenth century Mendes were apparently little known on the 
seaboard, except as slaves brought down from the interior. 
The late Reverend Dr. Schoen, of the Church Missionary 
Society, and the author of books on the Hausa, Ibo, and Mende 
languages, states (1882) that '4t seems that the nation is 
pressing on to the seashore, as they occupy at present the 
country where, in 1839, the slave-dealers had their dep6ts 
of slaves in the Sherbro country. Their baracoons were 
destroyed on the banks of the great river Bum by Captain 
Denman, of the British Navy, in 1840 or 1841, and since 
that time the country is open to British commerce and mis- 
sionary operations, and the Mende are the principal occupants 
of the place, and their language has all but superseded, and 
will ere long supersede, the Sherbro altogether.** This move- 
ment has continued, but the Sherbro language still exists. 

The imposition of peace on the country after the war of 
1898, when the nation endeavoured to throw off European 
control, seems to have been the immediate cause of large 
numbers of the young men leaving their country. The suppres- 
sion of local feuds deprived them of their chief activities. 
When there was constant local warfare the safety of the town 
depended on its male inhabitants being always at home. 
With the abolition of the necessity for their presence the 
young men began to look around for some direction in which 
to turn their energies, and finding none at home they were 
necessarily compelled to go abroad ; and they are now to be 
found in all parts of West Africa, including the French and 
German colonies. As regards the Gold Coast, they were first 
introduced to that country through being brought in small 
numbers in the capacity either of soldiers or carriers for the 
local wars, beginning with the Ashanti war of 1873. For 



VI 



INTRODUCTION 



the Ashanti war of 1900 they came in larger numbers. The 
West African Regiment, which was sent from Sierra Leone, 
had many Mendes in its ranks ; and of the carriers that were 
enlisted at Freetown for the same war probably over 4000 
were Mende. About this time, too, large numbers were 
recruited as labourers for the Sekondi to Kumasi railway. 
As many as were willing to go were sent back at the expira- 
tion of their engagements, but many returned again to obtain 
work either from the Government or on the mines. At the 
present time (1907) they probably do not number much more 
than 1200 in the Colony, and four to five years would seem 
to be the average period of residence. Their number has been 
steadily decreasing, owing to the restrictions imposed by the 
Sierra Leone Government on their leaving that Colony, and 
those that go back home now find it difficult to come again. 
Unlike the Krumen, who have considerable objection to 
leaving the coast-line, and who work in gangs, which come and 
return annually, the Mendes subject themselves to no similar 
restrictions, and their enterprise and self-reliance take them 
everywhere. 

They are not generally tall, but sturdy, fearless, and capable 
of great endurance. The following table of measurements, 
which I have made, gives possibly a fairly correct indication 
of this people's stature. 

Heights of 894 Mendes measured. 

No. 



14 

24 
42 
21 
15 
26 
22 
25 
40 
26 
40 
48 
28 
36 
37 
49 
46 



Shortest 4.8i 






Up to and inchiding 4.11 J 


5 ft. and up to 5.0J inclnsivi 


5.1 and up to 5 


1 J inclusive 


5.2 and 5. 2 J 


. • , 


5.2J „ 5.2§ 


, 




5.2i „ 5.2 \ 


. 




5.2| „ 5.2i 


. 




5.3 „ 5.8i 






5.34 „ 5.3 


. 




5.3i „ 5.3 


. 




6.3i „ 5.3J 






5.4 „ 5.4i 


. 




5.44 » 5.41 


. 




5.4i „ 5.4- 






5.4i „ 5.4^ 


. 




5.5 „ 5.5u 


. 




5.54 „ 5.5g 


. 











No. 


.5.5iand5.5t ... 41 


5.5| „ 5.5g 






28 


5.6 „ 6.6it 






26 


5. 6 J „ 5.6i 






29 


5.6^ „ 5.61 . 






34 


5.6| „ 5.6| 






23 


5.7 „ 5.7i 






16 


5.74 M 5.7i 






24 


5.7i „ 5.7i 






19 


5.7£ „ 5.71 






23 


5.8 „ 5.8it 






19 


5.84 „ 5.8i 






8 


5.8i „ 5.8i 






14 


5.8f „ 5.8J 






11 


5.9 and over 






40 


Tallest 6.14 


894 











INTRODUCTION vii 

The nation seems to be formed by an admixture of a tail, 
slim race, presumably coming from the open country to the 
northward, with the short, thick-set race, which ancient records, 
dating back as far as the time of the Phoenicians, show to have 
been the inhabitants of the tropical African forest in past ages : 
which view the foregoing figures appear to support. 

The customs of the Mendes, as far as I can learn from 
hearsay, do not seem to differ greatly from those of their 
immediate neighboui*s, who still remain pagans. The great 
institution of the country is Poro ; an institution similar to 
which exists among the Vais, their neighbours to the south- 
east, and I believe also in other adjoining countries. As 
reference has been made to it, it may be briefly stated that 
Poro is virtually a system of education. It has been described 
as a secret society ; but there cannot be much secrecy about 
what has been attended by nearly all the youth of the country. 
The course of instruction varies with the desire and status of the 
individual and the fees paid. Dancing, singing, gymnastics, 
medicine, and mystic rites are amongst the subjects taught, and 
for some boys the course lasts seven years. Girls also go 
through a course of instruction suitable for them, which they 
are not permitted to talk about with the other sex. What is 
Poro to the men is called * Sande ' or * Bondo ' for the women. 

As to the affinities of the Mende language I am unable to 
say much, having, of the surrounding languages, only been 
able to examine Vai. Vai is a language of interest from its 
having a syllabic writing of its own. It has a very con- 
siderable number of words in common with Mende, and in 
many leading particulars the grammar harmonizes. The Vais 
have a tradition that they themselves came from the north. 
It is therefore not unlikely that a Mende migration mixing 
with the already existing coast inhabitants produced the Vai 
nation. The Mendes call Vais * Karo,' and the Vais call 
Mendes * Huro ' or * Wuro.' Mende must not be confused 
with Mande, which is the language of the Mandingos. As the 
structure and grammar of a language are a surer indication of 
its affinity to other languages than its" words, I have in the sub- 
joined table compared Mende with Vai as well as with Hausa. 
With Hausa, from its distance, it can have no possible con- 
nection ; but the comparison shows the striking differences in 
the languages of a relatively small portion of Africa, 



VIU 



INTRODUCTION 



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X INTRODUCTION 

My study of the Mende language has been carried on during 
my last two tours of service on the Gold Coast. The Mendes 
that are there to work have come from all parts of their own 
country, and therefore every form of the language is used. In 
consequence of this and of their comparatively small number 
I have not been in a position to strictly confine myself to any 
one variety of the language. I do not care to use the word 
^ dialect ' in this respect, as the differences seem generally so 
small as to render the term * dialect ' inapplicable. There are, 
however, some varieties of Mende spoken on the borders of 
the country where the people have mixed with their neighbours. 
There is, for instance, the Kpa Mende on the west. This 
may possibly be entitled to be called a dialect, but I have not 
yet had an opportunity of studying it. There is also the 
Pokpa, on the east, which, I am informed, is a mixture of 
Mende, Vai, and Gura. In this book I have endeavoured to 
employ the southern form of speech, following Dr. Schoen, 
who published a grammar in 1882 and a vocabidary in 1884. 
The former is out of print, and I believe the latter very 
nearly so also. Of the stories at the end of the book, Nos. 1 
to 7 were dictated to me by a native of Bo, the remainder 
by a native of Panguma. I have, however, gone through 
them with a native of Mof we, as also I have the other portions 
of the book, and assimilated them in details of pronunciation. 

Finally, the scheme I have adopted is one of short sentences 
of practical use, classified under their proper heads. Whenever 
possible a sentence is repeated if it can be made to illustrate 
more than one grammatical rule, and I have endeavoured to 
avoid the coining of phrases for the sake of furnishing 
examples of a rule. 

F. W. H. MiGBOD. 
September, 1907. 



CONTENTS 








PAGE 


aODUCTION ...... 


V 


PART 1.— USEFUL PHRASES. 




i. One-word phrases .... 


17 


ii. Two- word phrases 
iii. Three-word phrases . 






18 






23 


iv. Travelling 






28 


V. Salutations 






34 


vi. Saying, talking, etc. . 






36 


vii. Buying and selling 






37 


viii. Giving 






38 


ix. Going . 






39 


X. Devx = cut, pass, beat, etc. 






42 


xi. Ll = heart 






43 


xii. Gu = can 






43 


xiii. Want, like 






44 


xiv. See, look 






45 


XV. To have 






45 


xvi. Sickness 






46 



PART II. -GRAMMAR. 



Chapter I. — General Remarks on Pronunciation, etc. 47 

i. Structure . . . . . .47 

ii. Absence of meaning to root forms . .48 

iii. Pronunciation — general . . . .48 

iv. „ of consonants . . .48 

V. „ of vowels . . . .49 

vi. Contractions . . . . . .50 

vii. Changes of consonants . . . .50 

viii. Changes of vowels . . . . .54 

ix. List of words much alike . . . .55 



xii CONTENTS 






PAOK 


Chapter II. — Substantives 


. 57 


i. Definite and indefinite forms . 


. 57 


ii. Gender ..... 


. 58 


iii. Number ..... 


. 58 


iv. Case ...... 


. 59 


V. Compound nouns .... 


. 60 


vi. Substantives formed by addition of suffixes, etc. 


. 60 


Chapter III. — Adjectives .... 


. . 62 


i. Inflection ..... 


. 62 


ii. Syntax ..... 


. 62 


iii. Adjectives ending in tigo 


. 64 


iv. Comparison — Comparative 


. 65 


Superlative 


. 65 


V. Numeral Adjectives : (1) Cardinal . 
(2) Ordinal . 


. 66 


. 67 


(3) Distributive 

(4) Multiplicative 
(6) Predicative 


. 67 


. 68 


. 68 


Chapter IV. — Pronouns .... 


. 69 


i. Personal ..... 


. 69 


ii. Demonstrative .... 


. 72 


iii. Relative ..... 


. 73 


iv. Interrogative ..... 


. 73 


Chapter V. — The Verb to be , 


. 75 


i. Lo 


. 75 


. Loa . 




. 76 


ii. Mia 




. 77 


iii. Le . 




. 78 


iv. Ye 




. 79 


V. Yele . 




. 80 


vi. Ya . 




. 80 


vii. To be omitted . 




. 80 



Chapter VI. — The Verb 
i. Division — Voices 



8.2 



CONTENTS 



ziu 



ii. Moods — Imperative . 
Infinitive 

Indicative and Subjunctive 
Continuous . 

iii. Tenses — Conjugation of tenses in Positive and 
Negative 
Aorist 
Present 
Past, I 
Past, II 
Past, III 
Perfect 

Pluperfect in three forms 
Future 

Future and Conditional Negative 
Future perfect 
Imperative — Present 
Continuous — Aorist 
Present 
Past 

Future, I 
Future, II 
Ngo Form — Present 
Past 
Future 
iv. Examples of uses of various tenses 
V. Conjugation of nge, I say 
vi. Negative construction . 



PAOS 

82 
83 
84 
84 

84 
84 
84 
84 
85 
85 
85 
85 
86 



86 
87 
87 
87 
87 
88 
88 
88 
88 
89 
92 
92 



Chapter VII. — Advebbs . .... 96 

i. Adverbs of place . . . . .96 

(1) Pure adverbs of place . . .96 

(2) Adverbs being also prepositions . . 96 

(3) Adverbial expressions . . . .97 
Examples of uses of above . . .97 

ii. Adverbs of time ..... 101 

(1^ Adverbs of time .... 101 

(2) Adverbial expressions . .102 
Examples of uses of above .... 102 

(3) Befwe^ Mende expressions for . . 105 

(4) Miscellaneous expressions relating to time . 105 
iii. Adverbs of affirmation and negation . . . 107 
iv. Adverbs of manner, intensitives, etc. . . . 107 

V. How? Mende expressions for . . .110 



CONTENTS 



Chapter VIII. — Prepositions 

General remarks . 

(1) Pure prepositions 

(2) Postpositions . 

(3) Nouns, etc., used as postpositions 
Examples of above uses . 
Froniy out, without^ about, Mende expressions for 



PAGE 

111 

111 
111 
111 
112 
112 
120 



Chapter IX. — Conjunctions 
Chapter X. — Interjections 



122 



126 



PART III.— VOCABULARIES. 



i. Furniture, utensils, etc 










127 


ii Implements 
iii Colours 










128 










128 


iv. Metals . 










129 


V. Parts of the body 










129 


vi. Diseases 










131 


yii. Relationships, titles 










132 


viii. Seasons 










134 


ix. House, and its parts 










135 


X. Qames, dances, music 










136 


XL Plants . 










137 


xii. Animals 










142 


xiii. Birds . 










143 


xiv. Reptiles, fish, etc. 










147 


XV. Insects . 










148 


xvi. Stars . 










. 149 


xvii. Spiritual terms 
xviii. Natural features 










149 










150 


xix. Personal names 










150 


XX. Mende-Englisb, general 








. 154 


xxi. English-Mende, genera 


1 








179 



PART IV.— READING MATERIALS— STORIES, ETC. 

i. The spider and his hungry children . . . 200 

ii. The fate of the man who abandoned his wife and child 201 
iii. The fate of the man who cleared the bush when told 

not to do so . . . . . .203 



CONTENTS 



XV 



PAOS 

iv. The devil who took a human wife . . . 206 

V. The twins and their brother .... 209 

vi. The boy who fell into a hole .... 211 

vii. The boy stolen by a devil .... 214 

viii. The woman who did not wish her daughter to be 

married ...... 218 

ix. The spider and the maggot .... 220 

X. The spider and the bush goat .... 223 

xi. The okro tree ...... 227 

zii. The race between the deer and the snail . . 232 

xiii. The hombill and the dog .... 237 

xiv. The egg-plant and the woman who talked . . 241 

XV. The magic shirt ..... 247 

xvi. The woman whose child returned to life,and her enemy 256 

xvii. The dream that vanished through disobedience . 262 

xviii. Songs — thirteen in number .... 268 



ERRATA AND ADDENDA 

Page 18, line 1, for MawuZii read Mawulo. 

Page 20, line 14, for i na read I na. 

Page 48, line 4 from bottom, for ** IVUh A this practice is rarer" read 
** IVithA and this practice is also adopted." 

Page 49, line 2 from bottom, for e read e. 

Page 58, after line 13, add — hiiidg and ni/aha are ivsed as prefixes^ «?, 
hiihdo Igij male child or son; nyaha Igi, female child or daughter. 

Page 67, after line 8, add — Nwoni saiveisia tia mindo f Where are the 
three birds? 

Page 101, line 8 from bottom, to line — "Ha, to-day, now," add — uivtil. 

Page 107, line 6 from bottom, add after "same," — ^^and a iiegUive ques- 
tion is answered by Yes, when in English No would be expected. " 

Page 115, line 14, iox jieisia residjesia. 

Page 128, line 3 from bottom, for Buho read Bulu. 

Page 139, line 23, for Kale, gale read tolu, toll. 

Page 140, line 7 to read — tola or towa^ tole or towe, bean. 

Page 141, line 13, against KQbo, for rubber tree read gtcm copal. 

Page 141, at bottom, add — njala^ njale, indigo. 

Page 143, add new line after "Njahele" — ngorg, ngqrl, ape, chimpanzee. 

Page 143, line 8 from bottom, before the word "chimpanzee " insert {?). 

Page 157, line 7 from bottom, after gamu insert Kama. 

Page 203, line 9 from bottom, after gombui omit semicolon. 

Page 203, line 7 from bottom, for ye read ya. 

Page 204, line 15, the words ^^tJiey could go away " should be in brackets. 

Page 214, lines 13 and 21, for gbwe la read gbueila. 

Page 219, line 3 from bottom, after /m insert 2i.fullstop. 

Page 234, line 26, for go read hurry. 

Page 248, footnote, before the word "chimpanzee" insert (.?). 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



PART I 
USEFUL PHKASES 

I. One-word Phrases. 

Note 1. — o = o; o =aw; = approximating to u. 

Note 2. — When a sentence is sung out to some one at a distance, 

' oh ' is usually added. 
Note 3. — Accent is on penultimate syllable unless otherwise indi- 
cated. See Part II, chap. I, for further remarks on pronunciation. 



Boa. 
Bg! 

Be-ndo ! 
Bia! 




Salutation on meeting. 

Here. 

Here ! (more emphatic). 

You! 


Do! 




Stand still, or stop ! Stand it up ! 


E! 




Yes. 


Fel 




Give (me) ! 


Gbelel (Gbwele). 
Gbema ! (Gbwema), 

Gbelema. 
Gbia! 


or 


What is the matter 1 
Leave off ! 

Get out, go out I 


Hit6! 

Hou, or ho, or h5ma ! 




Lower or let down ! 
Catch hold ! Hold tight ! 


Igb6? 




Which? 


Kakd.! 




Quickly I 


Li! 

Li la, or Di la 1 

Londo ! 




Go! 

Take it away ! 

Cease! 


Mahuguhango ! (pronoun- 
ced sUmost Md-7igw<mgo), 

2 


It is far ! 



18 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Mawulu ! 


Wait! 


Mbgka! 


This side ! 


Mbumbu ! 


Carry; pick it up; take 


Malewe ! 


away ! 
Cut it off ! 


Mia, or Miando ! 


Yonder ! 


Miaka I 


Yonder side ! Over there ! 


Mindol or Mi lo? 


"Where is it ] 


Nda! 

Ndakp6! (Ndakpw6). 


Pull ! or lay it down ! 
Fellow ! (A common form 
address for men when 




name is used.) 


Nj6! 


Go down, or lower ! 


Nyandengo ! 


It is fine ! 


Pa! 


Kill it! 


Pili! 


Throw or shoot ! 


Sao I 

Se ! {Bi 86 is more common). 


No! (emphatic). 
Thank you ! 


Te! 


Lift it ! 


Tewel 


Cut it ! 


Wa! 


Come! 


Walal 


Bring it 1 


Yei! 


Go down ! 



It 



of 
no 



II. Two-woRD Phrases, 



A f ulo ! 

A kene ] (a = 

A gbale] (a = it). 

A li ! or Ali-oh ! (a = yoti^ 

imperative). 
Alo! 

A wa ! or A wa-oh ! 
Ayi! 

Ba hama ! 



Untie it ! (j>l) 
Where is master % 
Does it hurt ? 
Go! (j>l) 

Stand (still) ! {pi.) 
Come! {pL) 
Go down ! {pi,) 

You will not die ! 



(Ba = yoUf singular, imperative, negative.) 



USEFUL PHEASES 



19 



Ba lembi ! 




Do not delay ! 


Ba lua ! 




Do not be afraid ! 


Ba pili ! 




Do not throw, or shoot ! 


Ba yepe ! 




Do not talk ! 


B6gbe1(b6 = 


= you say). 


What do you say ] 


B6ka1 (b5 = 


here). 


This side 1 


Beva bel 




What is the news here 1 


Beva na ? 




What is the news there 1 


Bibiyeil 




What is your name 1 


Bigbaha? 




Are you tired 1 


BI gboyoa 1 




Have you finished ? 


BUell 




W hat is your name 1 


(Bl lei, or Bi 14, ia also used in the sense of you a/i'e caUed, 




your 


name is called.) 


BI mahiigbe. 




Be careful. 


BI mero 1 




Do you hear, or understand 1 


Bi se ! {pL Wuse). 


Thank you ! (also a salutation). 


Bi to? 




Do you see it ? 


Bia mi 1 (Bia 


mindo T) 


Where are you ? 


Bia na ? 




How do you do? (lit. Are you 
there ?) 


Do kpe ! 




Stand still I 


Dole! 




Stand (still) a moment ! 


Egu. 




He cannot (do it). 


E guma. 




Ditto. 


Ewa. 




He will not come. 


Er, er. 




No. 


Febe! 




Give (it) to me ! 


Fembel 




Ditto. 


Gbe mia? (Gbwe mia]) 


What is it? 


Gbelo] (Gbwelol) 


Ditto. 


Gbi gboyoa (Gbwi gboyoa). 


It is all finished. 


Gbia mbu ! 




Come out from underneath ! 


Gbo bima"? 




What is the matter with you 1 


Gele ma ! 




Stop that ! 


Gengebra loli. 




Call the labourers. 


Gom6 mia, or 


Gom6 lo. 


It is a crow. 



20 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Hakei bumbu. 
Hakef miningo. 
Hei ndia, or ndiei. 
Hei panda. 
Ho ngeya. 

I be-ndo. 
I gboyoa. 
I gboyoai. 
Igua. 
I guhani. 
I la] 
1 lini. 
Hole? 
I na. 
I nyand^. 
1 nyand^ni. 
I yd. 
Igbelel 

JSga. 

Jo loli. 

Ji bagbango. 

Eeke! 
Kolgigbe? 
Kolengo le. 
Epand6 joso, 
Kpand^ ve. 
Kpandingo le. 
Kpere gboyoa. 
Kurungo le. 

La ndia. 
Li bu. 
Li gulo. 
Li miaka. 
Li miando. 
Lq lole ? 
Lq sawa. 
Lurn^ mbe. 



Take up or carry the load. 
The load is heavy. 
Sit in the middle. 
Sit properly. 
Catch hold of it. 

It is not here. 
It is finished. 
It is not finished. 
It is enough. 
It is not far. 
Has he placed it ? 
He has not gone. 
How many? 
He is not there. 
It is not good. 
Ditto. 

He has gone. 
Which is it? 

Walk quickly. 
Call Jo. 
This is dear. 

Master! Father! 

Which book? 

It is cold. 

Load the gun. 

Give (me) the gun. 

It is hot. 

They are all finished. 

It is agreed, or accepted ; all right. 

Put it in the middle. 
Go underneath. 
Go on in front. 
Go yonder side. 
Go over there. 
How many days ? 
Three days. 
Answer me. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



21 



Mamungo le. 

Maw'u le ( = mawulu le). 

MaVu kru (= mawulu 

kulo). 
Mbom6 wote. 
Mendemo angS. 
M^ndemo abie 1 
M6ndemo angle. 
Mia lo. 

Miaka gbe, or Mia gbS. 
Mi yaka? 
Mindo bina t ( ^s bi li na). 

Na gbg ! 
NalOle? 
Nda mahu. 
Ndakpwe' mbo ! 

Ndaom6 gbQ. 
Ndaom^ lawo. 
Ndelingo le. 
Ndom6 gbia. 
Ndow^ lavenda. 
NdQw6 lave. 
Ngalei koto. 
Ngalei yei. 
Ng6 dema. 
Ng@ luma. 
Ng6 wa. 
Ng§ pe. 
Ngi gbaha. 
Ngl gbahani. 
Ngi gbeni. 
Ngi go. 
Ngl gulo. 
Ngi hiigo. 
Ngl kurua. 
Ngi kuruni. 
Ngl menia. 
Ngl menini. 
Ngl tonga. 



He is foolish. 
Wait a little. 
Ditto. 

Turn the hammock roupd. 
I am a Mende. 
Are you a Mende ? 
He is a Mende. 
It is over there. 
Look over there. 
Which direction ? 
Where have you been 1 

Look there ! 

How many there 1 

Put it on top. 

Lit. Fellow ! alas ! (a note of 

warning). 
Shut the window. 
Open the window. 
It is wet. 

Take off (your) singlet, or shirt. 
Fill the hole. 
Ditto. 

Roll up the mat. 
Let down the mat. 
I am not passing. 
I am not willing. 
I shall not come. 
I shall not do it. 
I am tired. 
I am not tired. 
I do not care. 
I do not know. 
In front of him. 
I do not understand. 
I accept (lit. I accepted). 
I do not accept. 
I heard. 
I did not hear. 
I have seen. 



22 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ngl wildma. 


I am finishing. 


Nji domei (nji/or nje). 


Put it on the ground. 


Njia gbi. 


All right. 


Nya le. 


It is I. 


Nu yira. 


One person. 


Numu yira. 


Ditto. 


Nyawo mia, or Nyawo le. 


It is mine. 


Njei susungo. 


The water is deep. 


Njehu susungo. 


Ditto. 


Ngi yakpei ( = ta yakpei). 


He alone. 


Njei woma. 


Across the water. 


Nya yakpei. 


I alone. 


OJo] 


Where is Jo ] 


Pgbu. 


In the house. 


Pe ni, or hi. 


Do it so. 


Pel6 nyamungo. 


The road is very bad. 


Powe mia, or lo. 


It is a pigeon. 


Pu ndomel. 


Put it on the ground. 


Pu ngeleya. 


Put it up (aloft). 


Pe-nd6 gb^. 


Shut the door. 


Pe-nd^ lao. 


Open the door. 


Pundia. 


Put it in the middle. 


Ta be. 


It is here. 


Tajil 


Is it this ? 


Ta gulo. 


He is in front. 


Ta mia. 


So it is (a common expression in- 




troducing a related subject). 


Ta mindo ? 


Where is he? 


Ta kuhama 


It is far. 


Tana. 


He is there. 


Ta poma. 


He is behind. 


Ta wama. 


He is coming. 


Ta yakpei. 


He alone. 


T6 wa. 


They will not come. 


Teiigbel 


Which town? 


Telingo le. 


It is black. 


Tewe botongo. 


Cut plenty. 


Ti be. 


They are not here. 


Ti na. 


They are not there. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



23 



Ti wama. 


They are not coming. 


Tianal 


Are they there ? 


Tia wama. 


They are coming, or Are they 




coming % 


Tia bagbango. 


They are dear. 


Tonya mia, or le. 


It is true, or Is it true 1 


Tukpekru( = kulo). 


Push a littla 


Wabe. 


Come here {siiig,). 


Wa jore. 


Do not make a noise {pi.)* 


Wa kdkd. 


Come quickly {8ing,\ 


Wa mehef. 


Bring food {sing,). 


Wa ndia. 


Come into the middle {sing). 


Wambe. 


Come to me {sing.). 


Wa yepe. 


Do not talk (pi). 


Wala fere. 


Bring two {sing.). 


Wu gbaha 1 


Are you tired 1 {jpL), 


Yegbe? 


What does he say 1 


Ye mia? 


Who is it ? 


Ye, sao. 


He says no. 


Yia lele. 


Talk slowly. 



III. Threb-word Phrases. 



A mbom^ bumbu. 

A mbom6 wote. 

A mu jega ( =: jia ka). 

A mu li {or li-o). 

A mu wime. 

A wa kakd. 

A wa na. 

A wa ( — wa a) mbom6. 



Ba 1 gbani. 

Ba li huguhango 

nounced 
Ba li na. 



(pro- 



Take up the hammock {pi.). 
Turn the hammock round {pi). 
Let us walk quickly. 
Let us go. 
Let us run. 
Come quickly {pl)» 
Come now {pL), 

Bring the hammock {pi), (lit. 
Come with the hammock.) 

It is not dear. 
Do not go far. 

Do not go there. 



24 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Bs njiahd me ? 



Bi bumb^a botongo. 

Bi himilo) 

Bi hiyd mi. 

Bi ji hou. 

Bl lima le. 

Bi limale? 

Bilimil . 

Bi lo mia. 

Bi ngi wu. 

Bi milo ge t 

Bi Mende biyei t 

Bi ndai milo ? 

Bi nd^ gora ! 

Bi pui milo 1 

Bi nemdhu lengo. 

Bi nemdhu gbi na. 

Biyd mi"? 

Bi ye mi ? 

Bi yepe {or yepea) botongo. 

Bl wani kakd. 

Bi wo le, or Bi wo mia. 

Bi wo i le, or Bi wo ya na. 

Bia 1 le. 

Bia lo mi ? or Bi mi lo 1 

Bia yese wa. 

Bia ku mema 1 



Ds ngl ma (see also under 

Tid), 
De ti ma (see also under m^). 
Duma nya we. 

Fe nya we. 

Ga 1 majid lo. 
Ga meni kru. 

^ For Qa and Qi se 



Cannot you hear what is said? 

(lit. Cannot you eat the word 

inside ?) 
You have taken (lit. took) too 

much. 
Where have you come from ] 
Ditto. 
Hold this. 
If you like. 

Are you not going yet 1 
Where are you going ? 
Stand yonder. 
Wake him up. 

Where have you been lately ? 
What is your Mende name ? 
Where did you put it 1 
You lie 1 

Where did you put it 1 
You are clever. - 

You have no sense. 
Where have you been to 1 
Where were you 1 
You talk too much. 
You have not come quickly. 
It is yours. 
It is not yours. 
It is not you. 
Where are you 1 
You come first. 
Do you smell anything 1 (lit. Are 

you hearing a smell?) 

Tell him. 

Tell tliem. 
Answer me. 

Give it to me. 

I (will) sell it. 
I understand a little. 
) also under Nga and Ngi. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



25 



Gbelli. 

Gbe ngi wa. 

Gbe jongo mia) 

Gbeva I loni 1 

Gbo ba f embe ? 

Gbo ba pema f 

Gbo ba pe na f 

Gbo bi longwola 1 or Gbo bi 

iQila) 
Gbo bi ma % 
Gl ngi loi. 
Gl Igi la. 
Gl nwoni loi. 
Gi mboi lo. 
Gi menia hiye. 

Gi ndoa pebu. 
Gull mbe ka. 

Hou na ma. 
Ha gbi na. 
Hai gbi mia? 
Hai lo mia 1 
Hiye mu li. 

I gula bi. 

I hingdei na. 

I navoi ngeya. 

I nde gora. 

I lani kpela. 

1 ya gboyoai. 

I ya hQ. 

I ya wele (wili, or wiri). 

I ya miaka. 

I ya muama. 

I ya poron. 

I y^ na 1 or I ye na hoe ? 

Jo hingdei na? 
Jo lo mi ) 

Kaka wekei (or yekef ) ma. 
Elale lo hu. 



Let him go. 

Wait a moment till I come. 

How much is it ? 

Why did not he want to ) 

What do you give me 1 

What are you doing % 

What are you doing there 1 

What do you wantT 

What is the matter with you % 

I have not seen him. 

I dislike it 

I have not seen the bird. 

I have shot it. 

1 heard indeed, or I understand 

perfectly. 
I left it at home. 
Paddle on this side. 

Catch hold of it. 

Nothing there. 

Is anything there ? 

Ditto. 

Get up, let us go. 

He fell down with a thump. 

He is not there. 

He has no money. 

He lies. 

He drew near. 

He has not finished. 

It has gone inside. 

He has not done it. 

He has gone yonder. 

He has gone to wash. 

He has gone far. 

How is it then ] 

Is Jo there] 
Where is Jo] 

On the other side. 

A cartridge is in (the gun). 



26 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Kia ji na.i 
Kia Da na. 
Kpele shilli' yira. 
Kolei nya houa. 

Kpindi jiei nyandengo. 
Kul6 ji nyaningo. 

Li bi mua. 

Li ngi gama. 

Li pe bu. 

Li, wa gol8. 

Lo ngi gulo. 

Lo yekd ma. 

Lole mia na ? 

LQndo a ngepe, or njepe. 

Ma gbo we 1 
Ma 1 guhani. 
Ma 11 lo. 
Mawulu mu wa. 
Ma ye pe 1 
Mehe gbi na. 
Mendemo (lo) able ? 
Mu soa pu. 
Mu ya mbe. 
Mu ya li. 
Mti ya wime. 
Mu lovoni ha. 



Mu yl jiama. 

Ndakpwei ! jega guri-oh, 

Ndg nya ma. 

Nga 2 wa lo. 

Nga ye pe ? 

Ngi bi humani. 

Ngi houa kpele. 

Ngi Igi la. 



Like this. 

Like that. 

All for one shilling. 

Cold has caught me (I have 

caught cold). 
Travelling by night is agreeable. 
This cloth is spoilt. 

Go and bathe. 

Go for him. 

Go home {sing.). 

Go and fetch the letters. 

Stand in front of him. 

Another day. 

How many are there there 1 

Cease talking. 

What shall we do] 

It is not far. 

We will go. 

Wait until we come. 

What are we to do 1 

No food there. 

Are you a Mende 1 

We have obtained ten. 

We return. 

We do not go. 

Let us not run. 

We have not been unlucky to- 
day ; we have not returned 
empty-handed. 

We were travelling all night. 

Friend, hurry up with that stick. 

Tell me. 

I shall come. 

How can I do it ] 

I do not cheat you. 

I take all. 

I do not like him, or it. 



^ Any noun in the indefinite form may be substituted for^V. 
2 For Ng- see also ^nder g-. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



27 



Ngl loni able. 

Ngl lima le. 

Ngeka gi gula. 

Ngl ya jijiama. 

Ngl ya yima. 

Ngl ya toni, or toi. 

Ngl ye bia. 

Ngilei a nyi. 

Ngilei a gbao. 

Nwonl a gbao. 

Numu gbl na. 

Njia wulo lo. 

Njia gutu lo. 

Numu yira do. 

Nyawo le, or Nya wo mia. 

Nyawo I le. 

Nyawo ya na. 

PeU 1 nyandeni. 
Pele lo mil 
Pole nyamu lo. 
Pewi a gbao. 
Pili (piri) njei ha. 

Sina ma to. 

Ta nji ha. 
Ta hingdei na. 
Ta lo ha. 
Ta mia yira. 
Ta ngi gulo. 
Ta ya na. 
Ta yese wa. 
TS mbS yaka. 
Te wumba. 
Ti wu pawani 1 
Ti gbi bu. 
Ti ya yima. 
Tia i le. 
Tonya i le. 
Tonya ya na. 



I do not want you. 

I am not going yet. 

I nearly fell. 

I am going for a walk. 

I am going to sleep. 

I have not seen it. 

I do not talk for you. 

The dog bites. 

The dog barks (cries). 

The bird sings (cries). 

There is nobody there. 

It is a small affair (palaver). 

It is a short palaver. 

Send one man. 

It is mine. 

It is not mine. 

Ditto. 

The road is not good. 
Where is the road 1 
It is a bad road. 
The bush cat cries. 
Throw it into the water. 

To-morrow we shall see. 

He is asleep. 

He is there. 

It is inside. 

That is one, or One is there. 

It is in front of him. 

It is not that. 

He comes first. 

Pass it over to this side. 

Raise it on your head. 

Have they not paid you ? 

They are all below. 

They have gone to sleep. 

It is not they. 

It is not true. 

That is not the truth. 



28 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Train i wa. 
Train lo wama. 
Train ta wama. 

Wa gboma yira. 
Wa li na. 

Wa mu li, or Wa mu li-oh. 
Wa pel6 bu. 

Wa nga ya (pronounced 
wang-gdy-ya). 

Y6, bi li. 

Ye bi loni] 

Y6, gbe na. 

Ye mia bie ? 

Yeloabie? 

Yoabiel Biabiye? 

Ye gxxrk lo 1 

Ye lo miando ? 

Yelona? 

Ye mia miando ? 

Ye na mbu 1 

Yo ndS bima ] 

Yo njiei leni ? 



The train is coming. 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 

Bring one more. 
Do not go there (pZ.). 
Come, let us go. 
Come inside the house. 
Come, I am going. 



He says, You go. 

Who sent you T 

He says, Look there. 

Who are you 1 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 

Whose cloth is it 1 

Who is there % 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 

Who is underneath there ? 

Who told you? 

Who spoke f 



IV. Travelling. 



Sina mu li dogbo wai hd. 

Mi yakal 

Mu li Kumasi. 

Dogbo jiei nyandengo le ? 

Nyandengo le, hiye. 

Wa mu hakeisia hagbate. 
Nya longo a nunga wa- 

yakpa hakeisia va. 
Nunga l9le mia mbome 

val 
Nunga gboma wayakpa 

mbom6 va. 



To-morrow we go to the bush (or 

up coimtry) 
Which direction 1 
We go to Kumasi. 
Is bush travelling pleasant ? 
It is very nice. (lit. It is nice 

indeed.) 
Come, let us pack the loads. 
I want eight men for the loads. 

How many men for the ham- 
mock? 

Eight more men for the ham- 
mock. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



29 



Ti kpele pu mahd woita. 

Mehe navoi lo nani va. 
Yeloabie? 
Beadman ange. 
Bibiyel? 

Bi lei 1 

Nya la a Bowl. 

Nya bije lo a Bowi {mia or 

lo can be inserted after 

la or hiji). 
Li bi gengeb'ra lull. 
Ti wai lo. 
Ti gbi ti wai lo. 
Ti kpele ti wai lo. 
T loa yira (pronounced 

6 nba 
1 ya wai le. 
Ta wama. 
Nga wu go a mehe navoi lo 

woita va. 
Wu meni 1 
Mu menia. 
Bi lei gbo benge bi keni 

angel 
A li pe bu. 

Ma li lo a ngenda v5li. 
A wa sina ngenda te-te. 
A wa wu kome. 
A fombo. 
A hakei wumbu. 
Bi vala jiei va 1 
Bi htigbat^ jiei va ) 
Bi bima gbat^a? (pro- 
nounced batta), 
Bi jeha gbat^a ? 
Nya longo a numu yira 

hak6i jima {or ji va). 
Hakei ji miningo. 
Ngi lila miningo le. 



Sixteen in all. (lit. They all six- 
teen.) 

Subsistence for four days. 

Who are you 1 

I am the headman. 

What is your name? (lit. Your 
name f) 

Ditto. 

My name is Bowi. 

Ditto. 



Go call the labourers (carriers). 

They have come. 

They have all come. 

Ditto. 

There is one left (behind). 

He has not come yet. 

He is coming. 

I give you subsistence for six 

days. 
Do you hear 1 
We heard, or understood. 
What name did you give me 

yesterday] 
€ro home. 
We go at sunrise. 
Come to-morrow morning early. 
Come, collect yourselves. 
Fall in. 

Take up your loads. 
Are you ready for the journey 1 
Ditto. 
Ditto. 

Ditto. 

I want one man for this load. 

This load is (too) heavy. 

I cannot take it, it is too heavy. 



30 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



JA bi wa ngey6i mu h&kei 

jiyili. 
Bi Id mia (or miando). 
Bi lo na. 

Wu fere a li a lenga. 
Bia {or bi) yese li. 
Wa jore. 
Ba yepe. 

A londo a ngepe. 
A wa a mbom^. 
Kpand6 ngili bom6 bu 

(pronounced Tigri), 
Mbom6 wote. 
A mbom6 wote. 
Numui na kutungo bom6 

va. 
Li bi peka luli. 
Kei a bi lulima. 
Jo lo mi 1 
OJol 
Jo, bi la. 

Ta be. 

Ta hingd^ na. 

Yelonal 

Bindi hingd^ na. 

Kpand6 lo mi ? 

Ta Wuseni yeya. 

Nda mahu. 

A mu li. 

A mu li-oh ! 

A mu js ga. 

Mu je mavula. 

A mu te. 

A mu bumbu mu te wumba. 

Te bi kpakl ma. 

Te bi wumba. 

A mu nje gbaklma. 

Alo! 

Dole! 

Do kpe ! 



Go and bring rope to tie this 

load with. 
Stand over there. 
Stand there. 
You two go together. 
You go first (sing,). 
Do not make a noise (pi-). 
Do not talk (sing.). 
Cease talking (pL). 
Bring the hammock (pi,). 
Tie the gun in the hammock. 

Turn the hammock round (sing,). 

Ditto (pi). 

The man is short for the ham- 
mock. 

Go call another. 

Master is calling you. 

Where is Jo 1 

Ditto. 

Jo, you are called, (lit, Jo, your 
name.) 

He is here. 

He is there, (lit. That place.) 

Who is there 1 

Bindi is there. 

Where is the gun ? 

Wuseni has it. 

Lay it on top. 

Let us go. 

Ditto. 

Let us walk quickly. 

Let us hasten our pace. 

Let us raise (it). 

Let us take it up and raise it on 
our heads. 

Raise it on your shoulder. 

Baise it on your head. 

Let us lower it on our shoulders. 

Stand, or stop (pi.). 

Stand a moment. 

Stand still 



USEFUL PHRASES 



31 



Lo ngi gulo. 

Bia wTme knlo (pronounced 

krv). 
A wime. 
I ya a pime. 

Ye, mu ya wime. 
Jia panda. 
Ndakp^, je ga-oh. 

Mu jia lele. 

Ndg dakpaloi nk ma a jS ga. 

Bi f ukoi lo mi ? 



Wa nya fukdi. 

Wa bi nya fuk^i la. 

Hal 

La ndia. 

Gbia mbu. 

Li mbu. 

Gbdbima? 

Ngari nya boa. 

Ngari (lo) nya gow6 ma. 

Mbow6 fe gi gbia. 

I gbia? 

I ya gbiaL 

I gbiai lo. 

Agbalel 

Koti nya nwona nya gow6 



Stand in front of him. 
Run on a little. 

Run {pi,). 

He has run off. (lit. He has gone 

with running.) 
He says we must not run. 
Walk properly, or carefully. 
Young man, hurry up (ndakpi is 

only used to an equal). 
Let us walk slowly. 
Tell that young man to hurry. 
Where is your head-pad ? (Kdtd 

is the Coast-EDglish word for 

fufcQi.) 
Bring my head-pad. 
Come and place my head-pad. 
Has he plaiced it f 
Put it in the middle. 
Come out from under. 
Gro underneath. 

What is the matter with you ] 
A thorn has run into me. 
There is a thorn in my foot. 
Give me a knife to get it 

out. 
Is it out 1 

It has not come out. 
It has come out. 
Does it hurt 1 
A stone has wounded my foot. 



Peli 1 gbekpeni (peli for The road is not good 

pele). 
Peli nyamungo (le). 
Njef lo pelihu. 



Hinde ji i nyandd. 
Njei na susungo. 
Ga kolo. 

Gbe ngi li gi hiigo. 
Nga li nga to lo. 



The road is bad. 

There is water in the road (i. e. 

the road is under water). 
This place is not good. 
That water is deep. 
I will try it. 
Let me go and try it. 
I am going to see. 



32 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Gbe ngi li ngi to. 
Ma yepe ? 

Susungo le. 

Wa bi nya wopo. 

Wa, ga bi wopo. 

Hei nya gbakima. 

NdQw6 lo. 

Ba lua. 

Ba gula (gura). 

Ba nya gula. 

Nga gula. 

Hei panda. 

A mbome te ngeleya. 

Bigbahal 

Gi gbahSni. 

I kpoyoa na, hit6. 

Kpawfi gbi na. 

Mu jia nguri ji ma. 

Tei gbe a ji 1 

Li bi p§le gokoli mu va. 

Ngi p5l5 doi lo. 

Nyandengo le 1 

I nyande panda. 

Ta lo tei ndia. 

Ngi loni a p§ls tei ndia. 

Li bi pSlS ikelemag^i lo. 

Bitoilo? 

Gi toi lo. Nyandengo. 

A mu li na. 

Ti wai lo a hakeisia gbi 1 

Haka yira i longa hu. 

Ta poma. 

Hakeligbelol 

Mehe kana mia. 

Bi ndoi lo hvl. 

Bukw6 mu pu milo 1 (kpuko 

viidef,for bed). 
Pu hind6 na. 



Let me go and see. 

What shall we doi (lit. How can 

we do ]) 
It is deep. 

Come and carry me on your back. 
Come, I will carry you on my back. 
Sit on my shoulders. 
It is a hole. 
Do not be afraid. 
Do not fall. 
Do not drop me. 
I shall not fall. 
Sit properly. 

Baise up the hammock high. 
Are you tired ? 
I am not tired. 

It is finished now, let me down. 
There is no bridge there. 
We will walk on this tree. 
What town is this 1 
Go and find a house for us. 
I have seen a house. 
Is it a good one ? 
It is not too good. 
It is in the middle of the town. 
I do not like a house in the 

middle of the town. 
Go and look at the last house. 
Have you seen it ? 
I have seen it. It is fine. 
Let us go there. 

Have they brought all the loads 1 
One load is lost. 
It is behind. 
Which load is it ? 
It is the * chop* box (pro vision box) . 
Your whisky (wine, any strong 

drink) is inside it. 
Where shall we put the bed ? 

Put it there. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



33 



Ngey6 na f ulo. 

Ba tewe. 

Gbe numu yira i li i kowu 

kokoli. 
Sandi lo mi ? 
I ya njehti. 

Gbe nu fere ti li ti wa nje. 
Li bi nu lolu tuli. 
Nunga lole (Itile) bi soa 1 
Li bi ngeng6 ge atie bi wa. 

Bi ke atie ? 
I, ngi ke atie. 
Mehe navQi i gboyoa. 
Mehe gbi nya yeya {or ni 

yejsi/or short). 
Wa ga bi pawa. 
Ti wu pawani 1 
Navoi i nyandeni. 

Numu yira i tange huma 

pelima. 
Ngi bijd lo a ye ? 
Gegbwa mia. 
Talomi? 
Tabs. 

I nyapoi yahumanga. 
Ngi wShindei i nyand^. 
Nga ngi nav5i me lo. 
GbSi na mu f onga Sekondi 

ga ngi gbe lo ; or, 
GbSi na ma hite Sekondi 

ga ngi gbe lo. 
Bi lemungo le. 
Nga ya pi ( = pg = w6l6). 
Ye, ba ngi gbe. 
Nga ye pe ho ? 
Ye, bi ngi dewe. 
Kurungo le. 
Headman, li angie pele 

woma bi ngi ndewe pu. 
3 



Untie that rope. 

Do not cut it. 

Let one man go and find wood. 

Where is Sandi ? 

He has gone to the water. 

Let two men go and fetch water. 

Go and call five men. 

How many men have you got ? 

Go show them their work and 

come. 
Have you shown them 1 
Yes, I have shown them. 
Subsistence money is finished. 
I have no food. 

Come, I will pay you. 

Have they not paid you? 

The money was not good, i. e» I 

did not get it correct. 
One man stole cassada in the 

road. 
What is his name ? 
It is Gegbwa 
Where is he ] 
He is here. 

He stole from a woman. 
His behaviour is not good. 
I will stop his pay. 
When we reach Sekondi I will 

dismiss him. 
Ditto. 

I beg pardon. 
I will not do it again. 
He says, Do not dismiss him. 
What shall I do then 1 
He says. Beat him. 
AU right. 

Headman, take him behind the 
house and give him ten cuts. 



34 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



I gbgyoa. 

Ye bise ka. 

Pele ji fere ma li a igbo. 

Mu li a peli ji ke ta mia, 
mu li a ipek6ji be ke ta 
mia. 

Mu li a ngeyahti we, nyan- 
dengo; mu li a gowohu 
we, nyandengo. 

Mu yi jiama. 

Mu li a pele na mu waila. 

Ji a hije b6 a li Chama 
jia lole ? 

Be ta Chama jia lole 1 



F5 yira jia mia. 
F5 fere jia mia. 
B5 gulama na ? Ga li gi to. 

Pele gbi na. 

Pote ngeja-ha we. 

Bi ya bi li a ngejahu we. 

Peli lagboungo. 

Bi wani pel6 ji ngova ? 

Njei i gula ? 

Njei i wa. , 

Njei lo wama. 
Hu ya don ha. 
Ligbili hengd ha. 



It is finished. 

He says, Thank you very much. 

There are two roads ; which shall 

we take 1 
Whichever we go by it is the 

same. (lit. We go by this road 

and it is one, we go by the 

other and it is one.) 
If we go to the right it is good, 

if we go to the left it is good. 

We were travelling all night. 

We go (back) by the road we came. 

How far is it to Chama? (lit. If he 
gets up here he goes Chama, 
how much walking T) 

How far is it to Chama? (lit. Here 
and Chama, how much walk- 
ing?) ^ 

One day s journey. 

Two days' journey. 

What is the obstacle there? I 
am going to see. 

There is no road there. 

Turn to the right. 

As you go keep to the right. 

The road is shut. 

Have you been this road before ? 

Does it rain ? 

The rain comes, i. e, is now begin- 
ning to fall. 

The rain is approaching. 

There is a calm to-day. 

Ditto. 



V. Salutations and Kindred Phrases. 



Boa ? Reply y Boa. 

Woal 

Bova. 

Biana? Reply ^ Boa. 



How do you do ? 
Ditto {pi). 
Ditto. 
Ditto. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



35 



Bise. 

Wuse. 
Bevdbil 

Bev^na? 



Bev'k mbui 1 
Bev4mahal 
Bevd pil^ma 1 
Bev4 bi welei bu ] 
Gbo wenga miaka 1 

Gbo wenga bi wa be 1 

Bevi bi Iiij6ma1 (or hiy^ma) 

Hinda gbi dogboi hu. 

i nyamu gbi na. 

Hinda gbi na. 

Hinda gbi be. 

I nyamu gbi be. 

Bi kei lo na, bi njei lo na f 

Tiana. 

NjA kei nya njei ti^ na. 

(A)Mu ngenda hoe. (Fl, 

with A in front.) 
Mu kpQko hoe, or Mu kpo- 

ko. (But the addition of 

hoe is better.) 
I ngenda vei lo mu we ke 

iya. 
I ngenda vei lo mu we 6 

ya li. 
Gi lima sina-oh. 
Gi ya ngi f eli tima. 

Gi ya ngi wa. 

Bi vangfma. 



Thank you. (Used also as a 

salutation.) 
Ditto (jpl.). 
What is your news 1 (The person 

arriving' says this.) 
What is your news 1 (The person 

sitting down inquires this of 

the comer.) 
What news down country 1 
What news up country 1 
What news on the road 1 
What news in your house 1 
What news (what has been 

done) yonder 1 
What has happened that you are 

here? 
What is the news where you 

come from 1 
Nothing in the bush. 
Nothing bad there. 
Nothing there. 
Nothing here. 
Nothing bad here. 
Are your father and mother well ? 
They are well 

My father and mother are well. 
We say good-bye. 

We say good-night. 



He said good-night to us and he 

went. 
He said good-night to us before 

he went. 
I am going to-morrow. 
I am going to say good-bye to 

them. 
I go, I come ( = I shall b^ bacj^ 

shortly). 
You salute him. 



36 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



I velia bima 1 
Gi ya mu yei. 
Wa bi gona. 
Bi wa sina hoe. 
Mu va hoe. 
G! wai ! 



Did he say good-bye to you 1 
I go to my country. 
Come, make your report. 
Come to-morrow then. 
We say good-night. 
I have come ! 



VI. Saying, Talking, etc. 



Nd5 nya ma. 

D6 ti ma. 

Yo ndg bi ma ? 

Ye lo i ndeni bi ma 1 

Ds ngi ma i wa. 

I ndei lo ta wama. 

De ngi ma i li kaka. 

Ba ndg numu gbi ma. 

Ba lema njiei gi ndS bima. 

De ti ma ta sore {or sore we). 

Nji6i ji ga ndS, ba gbia 

nya woma. 
B6 gbe? 
YSgbe? 
I ye gbe bi ma 1 
NgS sago {or sa'o). 
Ye sao. 
Ngi ye bia. 
Ngi yiama bia, or Ngi yema 

bia. 
Bia 1 le nga ye bima. 
GI bi yiama. 
Ji le, nga yema (pronounced 

Ji 16nga yema). 
Ngi yema ji. 
Ngi ye ji j ngi ye ji. 

Ji fere le nga yema. 

Ngi ye {or yema) ji tabao 

ngi ye {or yema) ji. 
Ba yope. 
Wa yepe. 



Tell me. 

Tell them. 

Who told you ? 

Ditto. 

Tell him to come. 

He said he was coming. 

Tell him to go quickly. 

Do not tell anybody. 

Do not forget what I tell you. 

Tell them not to make a noise. 

Do not repeat what I say. 

What do you say ? 

What does he say ? 

What did he say to you ? 

I said, No ! 

He says, No ! 

I am not talking to you. 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 

I am talking to you. 

I did not say this ( = This is the 

wrong one). 
I did not say this one. 
I did not this ; I did not say this, 

i, e, I said neither of these. 
I said neither of these. 
I said neither this nor that. 

Do not talk {smg^. 
Do not talk (^3^.). 



USEFUL PHRASES 



37 



Londo a njepe. 

Bi yepe botongo. 

Bi yep^ le nga ye ndgma. 

Bs yepe nya lenga ? 

Gbe yepe bi men! 1 

Bi nde gora. 

I nde golani. 

I nd^ yia lenga. 

Bia bi lelengo. 

Bi lele (pronounced al- 
most ler-le). 

Bi leni. 

Bi Mende yiei merol 
(= me lo). 

Ga mero kru kru. 

Ba mero 1 

Gl menia. 

Ngi menini. 

Bl meni ? 

A Mende yia {or yiei) me 
lo. 

A Mende yia le lo. 

Yia lele. 

Huge ange panda. 

Ti gbia bi woma. 

Musa luli i wa. 



Stop talking. 

You talk too much. 

I am not talking your * palaver.* 

You will not talk with me ? 

What talk did you hear ? 

You lie. 

He did not lie. 

He has lied. 

You lie. 

You are wrong. 

You lied. 

Do you understand Mende ? 

I understand a little. 

Do you hear, or understand 1 

I heard. 

I did not hear. 

Do you not understand ? 

He understands Mende. 

He talks Mende. 

Speak slowly. 

Tell me all about it. 

ThjBy talk behind your back. 

Call Musa. 



VII. Buying and Selling. 



Gbe jongo mia 1 
Gbe jongo lo a ji 1 
Ny6 ji gbwe jongo "i 
Te yalui gbe jongo shili 

yera va? 
Te yalui yira gbe jongo 1 
Penny yira. 
Kpele shili' yira (va). 
Tia ba gbango. 
Ji ba gbango. 
Ba 1 gbani. 



How much is this ? 

Ditto. 

How much is this fish ? 

How many eggs for one shilling 1 

How much for one egg 1 

One penny. 

All for one shilling. 

They are dear. 

This is dear. 

They are not dear. 



S6 



THE MENDE LANOtTAGE 



Gbwe jongo mia ba nya How many will you throw in ? 

boya laT 
Bi majiai panda. 



Gs bi humani. 

Maye, gS ngeyd. 

Gi mayenga ngeya Sd, 

Gi kurua. 

Gl kuruni. Ge luma. 

Bise ; Di la ; Nggngeyama. 

Kul^ji i nyandeni. 
Kul^ji nyaningo le ; ng6 

ngeya. 
Ji kpele ji shili yira. 
Navgi kulongo. 
Navgi gbotongo le, ji mu 

lila. 
Ba kula majid lo 1 
Ga majid lo. 
Ngi majidma. 
Hai ji i ngeya. 
Li miando ta na. 



You cheat me (you did not sell 

correctly). 
I have not cheated you. 
Reduce it, or I do not buy. 
I lower it 3d, 
I accept. 
I do not accept. 
Thank you ; take it away ; I am 

not buying. 
This cloth is not good. 
This cloth is spoilt ; I will not 

buy it. 
All these are one shilling. 
The money is short. 
The price is too much, we do not 

take it. 
Do you sell cloth 1 
I sell it. 

I am not selling. 
This thing I have not got. 
Go over there, it is there. 



VIII. 

Fembe, or Fe'be. 

Fe. 

Gbe lo wa fembe ? 

Bo ba fembe 1 

Gi fe ngi ye. 

Hani ji bumbu bi fe ngi 

Gi f e be ( = bi we). 

I ngi ndei ve. 

I nde, ye, ti fe ngi we. 

Ti mehe ve lo wu ye 1 

Bi nya kul^ fembe. 

Kpand6 ve. 

Fe nya we. 

Ta lo nga fe bi we. 



Give {Fe and Go). 

Give (it) to me. 
Give (me). 

What will you (pi.) give me ? 
What will you {sing^ give me 1 
I give it to him. 
*e. Take this thing and give it to 
him. 
I give it to you. 
He gave him his share. 
He says they must give it to him. 
Have they given you food 1 
Give me my cloth. 
Give me the gun. 
Give it to me. 
That I give you. 



USEFUL PHEASES 



39 



I feni mu we. 

Nya go a njei gi gbole. 

Nya go a ngurl. 

Nga wu go a hege. 

Gi bi goi lo. 

Gi bi goi lo a three pensi. 

I ti goa mehei ( = I ti goa 

a mehei). 
Sina ga bi go lo a hale. 



He gave to us. 

Give me water to drink. 

Give me the stick. 

I give you soap. 

I have given it you. 

I have given you 3d, 

He gave them food. 



To-morrow I will give you medi- 
cine. 
Give him the book. 
Give Sandi the book. 
Give me this. 
Note. — If * go ' is rendered * present with ' the construction 
is more easily understood. 



Ngi go a kole. 
Sandi go a kole. 
Nya go (a) jihu. 



IX. Going. 

Note. — The verb * to go ' is liy past tense ya. 
frequently used with a present meaning. 



Ya is, however, 



Bit li ba wa-oh 1 

I gu a lila. 

1 ga i li. 

Nga g^ lo gi li 1 

Pessima a gu lo i li. 

Pessima i ya yi ma. 

Pessima i ya ngi y imi. 

Nya longo nga (or ngi) li. 
Migbe {or migbe lo) ba li ? 
Gi ya ngi la. 
Gl ko mi e (for i) ya na. 

Gi ko mi mia i ya na. 

Mi lo bi li na bengeme ? 

Id bi wa n]6i. 

A mu li pe bu. 

Hiye mu li. 

Bia bi lima sange ? 

Bl lima le 1 



Are you coming back ? 

He is unable to go. 

He cannot go. 

I shall be able to go ? 

Pessima will be able to go. 

Pessima has gone to sleep. 

Pessima has gone to his sleeping- 
place. 

I want to go. 

When do you go ? 

I am going to lie down. 

I do not know where he has gone 
now. 

Ditto. 

Where did you go yesterday ? 

Go fetch water. 

Let us go home. 

Get up, let us go. 

Are you going just now 1 

You are not going yet ? 



40 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ngi lima le. 

Ng! ya yima. 

Li bi wa kole. 

Bia bi luiua bi li va sange 1 

Ba li na. 

Ba li 'ngwajago (huguha- 

ngo). 
Gf ila(= GiHla). 
Mu li dogboi hu. 
Bi ya mi ge lo f ele g6 bi lo 1 

Bi ya ge mi lo f ele ge bi lo 1 
Bi ya li le ? 
Gi ya Takwa bengeme. 
Ngi ya li na. 

Gi ya na yira. 

I ya ha (or i foa). 

Gi ya jijiama. 

Li pe bu. 

Mu li a pele na 1 

Mu li a mbele ( = mbe 

wele). 
Ds ngi ma i li kaka. 
ly^. 
Ilini. 

Ti gbi ti ya. 
A li-oh. 
Bi lima mi ? 
Ba li mi ? 
Bilimi? 
Balilo, bsli? 

Mi lo ti ya na 1 
Mi lo ba li na 1 
Wuseni i ya kole gama. 
Gi ya kpande wime {/or 
wilima, indefbiite form). 
I ya kpande wime. 
A mu U mu kpande wili. 



I am not going yet. 

I am going to sleep. 

Go bring the letters. 

Are you willing to go now ? 

Do not go there. 

Do not go far. 

I go away, or take it away. 

We go into the bush. 

Where have you been these last 

two days that I have not seen 

you? 
Ditto. 

Have you not gone yet 1 
I went to Tarkwa yesterday. 
I have never been there, (lit. Not 

been there.) 
I went there once. 
It has gone in (as of a nail). 
I am going for a walk. 
Go home. 

Do we go that road ? 
We go this road. 

Tell him to go quick. 

He has gone. 

He has not gone. 

They have all gone. 

Go (pL). 

Where are you going 1 

Ditto. 

Where did you go 1 

Will you go? or Will you not 

go? 
Where have they gone now ? 
Where are you going now ? 
Wuseni has gone for letters. 
I am going shooting. 

He has gone shooting. 
Let us go and shoot. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



41 



Gi ngi lima go. 
Ji bi male e gbia e li mi lo 1 
(e = ^, he). 

Ngi male i gbia. 
Ti ya yima. 
Ti ya ti yimi. 

Ye, bi U. 

Li bi wa k4k4. 

Ngi ya pebu. 

Bi ya na yira 1 

Bi ya na wo ngova 1 

A mu li tei hu. 

I ya miaka (we). 

I y4 poron. 

I y4 muama. 

I y4 kpoyel ya. 

Ti ya tuwo. 

Li bi nwoni gama gbe. 

Li mehei gama, bi wala, 

mu me. 
Li bi pele gama gbe. 
Li bi wala kia jina. 
Li bi kokoi. 
Li bi na gbe. 
A ds mu li. 
Ngi ya ngi mehei me. 
Nu yera S li ? 
SaDgi mia ti yL 
Bia wa Wuseni a li mia. 
Wa tieni a li mia. 



Ngi yeto bingi ga li lo 

dogboi hu. 
M i yaka i ya na ? 
Kea bi ya lo 1 
Bl ya miando, bi wa, bi ji 

w§. 



I do not know where he has gone. 
When you found (lit. 1 met) he 

had gone out, where had he 

gone] 
I found he had gone out. 
They have gone to sleep. 
They have gone to their sleeping- 
place. 
He says. Go. 

Go, and come back quickly. 
I go home. 

Have you ever been there before ? 
Ditto. 
Let us go home. (lit. Let us go 

back into the town.) 
He has gone yonder. 
He has gone far away. 
He has gone to bathe. 
It has gone over the sea. 
They have gone on in front. 
Go and look for the bird. 
Go for food, bring it, so that 

we may eat. 
Go and look at the house. 
Go fetch one like this. 
Go and find it. 
Go and look there. 
Pass on, we are going. 
I go to eat. 

Is one man not going ? 
They have just gone. 
You and Wuseni go yonder. 
You and they go yonder. 
(For other similar examples, see 

under Pronouns.) 
I intended yesterday going to 

the bush. 
Which direction has he gone ] 
I suppose you are going now 1 
Before you go there come and do 

this. 



42 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Li ngi gama. 

A mu li gengemi. 

Mu ya gengeme. 

A mu li genge garni. 

Gi ya gengeme, or gengema. 

Ngia li 1 

Bia li, bia ba li ? 

Lahai i li lo gbi gengema 1 



Go for him. 

Let us go to work. 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 

I am going to work. 

Shall I go? 

Do you go, or do you^not go 1 

Did Lahai go to work yesterday 1 



X. Tewe, Dewe, Lb we, Tb, Lb = Cut, Surpass, 
Lewe = Beat, etc. 

Kowui dewe. Cut wood. 

Malewe. 

Tetewe. 

T6t6 a ngera ngera. 

Tewe botongo. 

I njiei dew6a (or dewia). 

Mbak6 lewe. 



Ndewb, Dewe, 



Ndi lewe. 

Ngi li dewea. 

Ng6 dema. 

Fo dewengoi. 

A de mu li. 

Mu de a ngiyehii. 

De a mia we. 

Dewe kaka wekei ma. 

A mu njei dewe. 

Pele male. 

I dewia tugo (or lugo). 

Njei i nya madew6a. 

Ngoi dewe i wa. 

Numu yira tewe nya gama. 

Ngi nemahu lengo. 

I dew6a ngi ma ji {or a ji). 

I dew6a ngi ma ji hti. 

KqU ye, nga wime gi le 

dop6 ma. 
Fo neni ma mbe le lo. 
Ke mahei na fg i lewe nani 

i gbate gboh. 



Cut off. 

Cut in pieces. 

Cut it in small pieces. 

Cut plenty. 

He settled the matter. 

Play music. 

To be angry. 

He is angry. 

I am not passing. 

Last year. 

Pass on, we are going. 

Let us pass over the hill. 

Bass round that way. 

Pass to the other side. 

Let us cross the water. 

Cross the road. 

He passed on in front. 

The rain detained me. 

Send word for him to come. 

Send me one man. 

He is clever. 

He surpassed him in this. 

Ditto. 

The snail said, * I can run faster 

than the deer.' 
Next year we will clear here. 
And that king for over four years 

increased in wealth. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



43 



I lo i ngi lema. 
Nde yira. 
Wa ga bi le pu. 
Gbe a ndewela. 
I yunga lenga 
gbele. 



a nasia 



He left off beating him. 

One cut (with a whip). 

Come, I will give you ten cuts. 

Stop beating. 

He boasted over all of them. 



XI. Expressions relating to Ll = Heart. 



Nya ll gbi hindoi ma. 

Nya ll lo bima. 

Bi ll lo mi ? 
Ngi ll nyania. 

Nya li leingo ngi ma. 
Ngi li dewla (dewea). 
Ngi ll i lew6 nyoko gbl. 
Bi ll i leli. 
Numui na a hinda hou li 

ma. 
Ma ngi li lei lo. 
Ngi ll helea. 
Hinga ti li nyamungo le. 
Bi It yekpengo le 1 
Ngi ll miningo yele kpi. 
Ngi li lengo wa. 



I do not care for the man; I 
have no confidence in the man. 

My heart is with you, ^. e. I 
trust you. 

Where is your heart 1 

His heart is spoiled, i, e. broken- 
hearted. 

I am pleased with him. 

He is angry. 

He was exceedingly angry. 

Be of good cheer. 

That man is patient. 

We will soothe him. 

He was troubled. 

Men whose hearts are evil. 

Is your heart good. 

His heart was very heavy. 

He was very angry. 



XII. Gu = Can, Be Able. 



Gbe yenge mia ba guma ? 
I gu a li la 
Nga gu lo gi li. 
Fessima a gu lo i li. 
Ba gu bi ji w6 % 
I gu i li. 

Ba gu bi kak^i ji le % 
Ng5 ngi do be. 



What kind of work can you do 1 

He is unable to go. 

I shall be able to go. 

Pessima will be able to go. 

Can you do this ? 

He cannot go. 

Can you climb this wall % 

I cannot see him here. 



44 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Be gu na ma. 

E guma. 

Ngi gu nga pe lo. 

Ngg gu nga pe. 

Ngg pg. 

Tl guni a njia gbi lela. 

Ba gu ba yengema ? 



Can you not do that. 

He cannot (do it). 

I can do it. 

I cannot do it. 

Ditto. 

They could not say a word. 

Can you work 1 



XIII. Want, Like, etc. 
Lq. 



Nya longo a mehe. 
Ngi longo a mehe. 
Ngi iQni a hani gbi. 
Gbo bi longwola ( = lo- 

ngola) 1 
Nya longo a numu yira 

hakei ji va. 
Nya longo a bie. 
Ngi loni a bie. 

Bi longo ange 1 

Bi longo a bi navgi *? 

Nya longo a njei ngi 
bole. 

Ngi loni & ni. 

Ngi loi la. 

Gbo bi loi la ? (Not so com- 
mon as Gbo bi longwo- 
la?) 

Gbeva I loni ? 

Ngi mbai ji ta ta ti longo- 
ma. 

BI Igni bi li? 

Nya dglongo a bie. 

Ti IqIq a ngie nu gbate 
va. 

Ni 'ongwa mehe (is short 
for Xya longo a mehe). 



I want food. 

He wants food. 

I do not want anything. 

What do you want ? 

I want a man for this load. 

I want you, or I like you. 

I do not want you, or I do not 

like you. 
Do you like me ? 
Do you want your money ? 
I want water to drink. 

I do not like that, or him. 
I do not like it. 
What do you want 1 



Why did he not want to % 

He and his friend were much 

attached to each other. 
Will you not go ? 
I dislike you. 
They hated him because he was 

a rich man. 
I want food. 



USEFUL PHRASES 



45 



Ma = in need of. 
Nja gboli mai lo nyama. I want water to drink. 

Hani jisia mani lo wnnia. You covet these things. 
Nji mani lo ngima. He is in want of sleep. 

XIV. See, Look, etc.= To, Gbe. 



Bi tonga? (pronounced hit- 
tonga), 
Gi tonga. 
Ngi toni. 
Ngi ya toi 
Gi ngi loi. 
Bi ngi loi lo 1 
Bi Yamba loi lo % 
I ngi doni. 
Wa bi to va. 
Bi to 1 
Bitoal 
Sina ma to. 
Ng5 ngi do be. 
Na gbS. 
Li bi na gbS. 
Li bi pebu gbS. 
Li bi pele gama gb§. 



Have you seen (it) ? 

I have seen (it), or found (it). 

I did not see (it). 

I have not seen (it). 

I have not seen him. 

Have you seen him 1 

Have you seen Yamba ? 

He did not see him. 

Come and see. 

Do you see it ? 

Did you see it ? 

We shall see to-morrow. 

I cannot see it here. 

Look, then. 

Go and look there. 

Go and look in the house. 

Go and look at the house. 



XV. To Have. 



Kul6 lo nya yeya {nl ^yeya 

for short). 
Ta ni 'yeya. 
Ta bi yeya, or Ta bCya. 
I ni 'yeya. 

Mbogbe lo Wuseni yeya. 
Ta lo Wuseni yeya. 
Numui na nyaha lo ngi 

yeya. 
I ngi yeya. 
1 navoi ngeya. 
Ha kpande gbi nya yeya. 
Nu lole mia ti bi yeya ? 
Ngi lei fere. 
Njia nya ma. 



I have the cloth. 

I have it. 

You have it. 

I have it not. 

Wuseni has the cutlass. 

Wuseni has it. 

That man has a wife. 

He hasn't it. 

He has not the money. 

To-day I have not gun. 

How many men have you got 

It has two names. 

I have a palaver 



46 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



XVI. Sickness. 



Ngi goihu a lewe (or a gbia). 

Ngi goihu honga. 

Ngi lima lema. 

Ngi li lo gbalema. 

Kole i nya houa. 

Koti nya nwona nya go- 

w6 ma. 
Bali lo nyama. 

Bi wqH hu bondango. 
Nya gQw6 vengo. 
Ngi higb^a wokpo. 
Nya h^bengo le. 
Nya higbengo le ge. 
Gbwam6 na yili. 
Hal6 na jia lu ma. 

Hal6 ji gbole. 

Bi nei gbia. 

Mi mia a gbale bi ma ? 

I gbalea gbQtongo. 

Nya mavulango le. 

Nya lui gbandingo. 

Blanketi w6 bi ma. 

Fufu gbandi wg bi gow6 

ma. 
Ga mbera (or tewe) gi gbia. 
Na vofoen. 
Na bono. 
Li bi njei gbandi ba ya bi 

gowe gama wua. 
Ba bawo lo sina. 



He has diarrhoea. 
He is constipated. 
He is retching. 
His heart hurts. 
I have caught cold. 
The stone cut my foot. 

I have a guinea worm (or other 

worm). 
You are deaf. 
My foot is swollen. 
I have been sick some time. 
I am sick. 

I was sick the other day. 
Tie up that sore. 
Rub that medicine over your 

body. 
Swallow this medicine. 
Put out your tongue. 
Where does it hurt 1 
It hurt very much. 
I have fever. 
My body is hot. 

Cover yourself with the blanket. 
Put a hot poultice on your leg. 

I will cut and pull it out. 

Suck it. 

Suck it. 

Boil the water before you wash 

(the wound on) your leg. 
You will be better to-morrow. 



PART II 

GRAMMAR 
CHAPTER I 

GENERAL BEMARKS^ PRONUNCIATION, EUPHONY, 
CHANGES, ETC. 

i. Structure op Words. 

A NOTICEABLE feature of the language is the readiness with 
which words are built up from simple root forms, (i) by 
reduplication, (ii) by the addition of other words, or (iii) by 
the addition of one or more prepositions either as a prefik or 
suffix. 

Example of — 

(i) Mhuj under ; mbvmbuy carry, 
(ii) Kpamdey gun; wUiy throw, or shoot; moi, suffix of the 

agent ; kpandevrUimoi, shooter, or hunter, 
(iii) Ma, on ; huy in ; gvhango, high ; maAuguhcmgo, pronounced 

almost mcmgwcmgOy far ; Ig, leave ; hu, in \ Ighu, lose. 

As opposed to this building up is the tendency to cut 
out, (i) vowels, (ii) syllables, especially fo, (iii) consonants, 
especiaily I, 

Example of — 

(i) Wd h(^ for wa a kdiy bring the book. 
(ii) We for weldy house. 
(iii) Ngaui for ngakti, month, egg, moon. 

47 



48 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

iL Absence of Meaning to Root Forms. 

A monosyllabic word expressed by itself rarely conveys 
a clear meaning. This can only be ascertained from the 
context ; and even a word of two syllables a Mende usually 
fails to understand if it be put before him without any hint of 
what it may possibly mean. The only words he is at all 
likely to recognize are the names of animals, material objects, 
etc. In every case the word inquired about must, if a 
substantive, and used without qualification, be put to him in 
the definite form ; and similarly in his reply the definite form 
will be used. A word is much less distinct in the definite 
form ; and for this reason, and owing to the numerous guises 
in which words appear, as will be seen later, the language 
is rendered one of considerable difficulty to Europeans. 

iii Pronunciation — General. 

Mende having no literature of its own has been reduced to 
writing on the basis of the Koyal Geographical Society's rules 
for spelling unwritten languages. The limitations of those 
rules, however, make an accurate expression of the sound of 
many words a matter of difficulty; and as, especially with 
regard to the vowels, a closer approximation than that pro- 
vided is required, various marks are usually employed to 
enable words when written to be more readily recognized. 
The accent is on the penultimate syllable ; but when a sub- 
stantive is put into the definite form singular, it is moved to 
the last syllable. The very few exceptions are specially 
marked in this book. 

iv. Pronunciation of Consonants. 

The consonants call for no special remarks, except that 
most Mendes when kp or gh are followed by i or 6 insert a w^ 
as ghi or ghvn, all; hpeie {kpere)^ kpwele (kpicere), all. The 
w will, however, not be written, except in a few sentences in 
this book where its insertion will assist the beginner. With 
a this practice is rarer. 

n = ng is used when the g sound is not carried on to the 
succeeding vowel, as, kdna, box = kcmg-a, not kan-gct. 

The difference between I and r is very slight, some words 



GRAMMAR 49 

preferring the / sound, others the r sound. In those words, 
however, in which I is the result of the softening of other 
consonants as t, dy nd, the distinctive I sound is properly 
retained, as ndawo, or 2au^, to open. Even to this, though, 
there are exceptions, and the r sound is heard, as in IqU, call, 
which becomes d^i, l^li, ruri. 

The beginner will often hear what he may take to be a word — 
siaii. This is, however, no word at all, but the last syllable, 
sia^ of a noun in the definite form plural, followed by the 
necessary pronoun ti, they. For example, nwonisia ti ya, 
the birds have gone, is pronounced nwoni siatt ya. Other 
words are, of course, as in all languages, similarly broken in 
being spoken. 

V. Pronunciation op Vowels. 

The pronunciation of the vowels a, t, u call for no special 
mention. 

e has varying values, which are not easily indicated by 
marks. A general idea of its pronunciation can generally be 
obtained from its combination with the other letters in the 
word; but its precise rendering, which is not invariably 
uniform, can only be obtained by ear. 

The o sounds are as follows : — 

o = the English o, either short as in dog^ or long as in oh, 

Q = OtP. 

Q =i o approximating to u. 

The difference between o and q should be very carefully 
noticed, especially when taking words from a vocabulary, or 
many errors in speaking may be made. Compare ndomi, the 
ground, pronounced ndatvme, and ndome, the shirt, pronounced 
ndoomi. 

Only vowels that it is necessary or important should be long 
are so marked, but in Part I of this book the short mark has 
been occasionally placed over vowels in order to draw the 
beginner's attention to the necessity for their being pro- 
nounced short. '^ denotes a nasal sound. ^ 

Modification of vowels is frequent in speaking, but in writing 
the language it is desirable, if possible, to keep to the proper 
vowel e frequently changes into i when owing to a ^7^^^^^ 
being added the accent is moved towards the newly-addert 

4 



So THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

syllable. Male^ meet, in the past tense is pronounced maMa 
instead of maUa. Vowels are also very commonly subject to 
change to fall in with the general run of vowels in the sentence. 
i becomes almost a or o; e becomes i, etc. As dengdma, tell 
him, for de ngl ma. In some parts of the country u takes the 
place of i in some words, as ghua for gbia, pull out. 

The diphthongs approximate as written. 

All words except some adverbs end in a vowel. The 
exceptions mentioned end in ng. 

vi. Contractions. 

Ck)ntractions and the elimination of consonants and vowels 
are frequent, and are a contributing cause to the difficulty 
a European has in understanding what is said. 

a, wa kol6 /or wa a kol6, bring the book. 

i, tamoi j&for tamoi i ya, the man went. 

g, sao /or sago, no. 

h, nyanga /or nyahanga, women. 

Z, kpae /or kpale, farm. 

ngau /or ngalu, moon, egg. 

p6 /or pele, house. 

we /or wele, house. 

yakpe /or yelakpe, only. 

gbeanga /or gbelanga, near, 
r, ka /or kara, teach. 

w, de /or dewe, cut. 

ya, beka /or bSyaka, this side. 

V) and y are both frequently dropped when standing between 
vowels. 

vii. Changes of Consonants. 

Changes of consonants are a great source of difficulty to 
foreigners learning Mende. Presented under several forms 
it is by no means easy to recognize a word, especially a mono- 
syllabic one. The changes are made to suit euphony from the 
native point of view. The hard sound occurs generally at 
the beginning of a sentence, but when the second syllable 
does not admit of softening the first must be softened. 



GRAMMAR 51 

Pronouns, except the first personal pronoun, do not admit of 
softening. As examples of the difficulty in recognizing words 
iinder this process, sale or jare, noise, and tuioo, luyo^ before, 
may be quoted. 

ExtMnpUs, 

FinU>v. 

Fe, give. Fembe, give me. 

Kpand6 ve, give me the gun. 

G into w, 

Hege or hewe, soap. 

Tuwo, tugo, luwo, lugo, before. 

Kmto g. 

Ke, show. Ke a tie, show them. 

Bi na ge ange, show me that. 
Kaka, side. Kaka wekel ma, the other side. 

Wa mu gakei ma, come to our side. 

K into w, 
Kulongo, wulongo, little. 

K into y, 

Kaka, side. B@ ka, this side. 

Mi yaka ? which side ? 

L into r. 

Kei a bi loli ma, master calls you. 

Kei a bi ruri ma, ditto. 

Mia lo, it is yonder. 

Mia ro, ditto. 

Bi me lo 1 did you hear ? 

Bi me ro ? ditto. 

The auxiliary, which will always be found written Zo, is 
generally pronounced ro. An exception is in the idiom lo a, 
where the I sound predominates. 
Ngenda lo a ji, this is his. (lit. His share is this, nge = ngi.) 



52 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Pime, run. 

Pele, house. 

Pele, do. 
Peka, other. 

Pska, other. 



P into w, 

Li a pime ! run ! (lit. €ro with 

running.) 
A mu wimBi let us run. 
Ps bu, in the house. 
Massa w§ lo a ji, this is master's 

house. 
Dengima a pele, tell him not to do it. 
Li bi ngenge wili, go and work. 
Kaka wekei ma, on the other side. 
Wa p§kel, bring the other. 

P into y, 

Kaka yekei ma, on the other side. 



P into hy rare. 
Pow6, b6w6, the flower. 



Jole, noise, shout. 
Joso, plug, load. 



^ into J. 

Wa JQre, do not shout. 
Dondo a sole, stop that noise. 
Kpand6 joso, load the gun. 
Ngi sosoi lo, I have lo^ed it. 



S into y, rare. 
Susungo, jusungo, yusungo, deep. 



Tewe, cut, pass, etc. 
Toli, call. 



Tewe, pass. 



T'mtod,l,r, 

Tewe 1 cut it ! 

Bi dewea % did you cut it ? 

Ngi leweni, I did not cut it. 

Li bi ngi t5li, go, call him. 

Ke a bi ruri ma (l5lima), master is 

calling you. 
Tugo, tuwo, lugo, in front. 



W into V. 

I dew^a, he 
I devia, ditto. 



GRAMMAR 



53 



Will (pili), throw, shoot. 



A mu li kpande wime (wilime, def, 
form of wilima), let us go and 
shoot. 

A mu li kpande vime, let us go and 
shoot. 



Mh into h or w. 

Mbumbu, lift. Mbumbu, pick it up, or take it. 

A mu bumbu, let us lift it. 
Ti wumbuni, they did not take it. 

Nd into d or L 

Nd@, say. I ndSa nyama, he told me. 

D6 ngi ma, tell him. 
Gbo I Iga bima % what did he say to 
you? 
Nda, lay. Nda ! lay it down. 

La ndia, put it in the middle. 
Ndia, middle. Hei ndende liei, sit in the middle of 

the boat. 
Ndowe lave, fill the hole. 

Ng into w. 

Only when followed by o or u, 

Ngova, old. Ngovango le, it is old. 

Iwovangoi, the old one. 

Ng into y. 
Only when followed by a, e, or i, 

Yela, one. Ngera ngera, one by one. 

Nu yira, one person. 
Ngalu^ eggf month. Ngaui ji, this month. 

Te-yalui, fowl's egg. 



Ngi, I. 



Nji, sleep. 



Ng into g, 

Ngi ya li na, I have not been there. 

Gi ngi loi, I have not seen it. 

Nj into y. 

Ta nji hu, he is asleep. 



54 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

Nji, sleep. Ti ya ti yimi, they have gone to their 

sleeping-place, L e. to sleep, 
or, Ti ya yima, they have gone to 
sleep. 

Kp into gb, 

Kpoyo, finish. 1 ya kpoyoai, it is not finished. 

Nu yira gboyongo, one man finished, 
i. e. twenty. 

Kp or gb into b or w. 

Kpoto, many, much. Njei lo na botongo, there is a lot of 

water there. 
Njei wotongo, the water is much, or 

deep. 
Gbptongo ! plenty ! enough ! 
I ya kpQtQ na, there is not much 
there. 
Kpiti, grass, etc. Biti gbia, pull up the weeds. 

Kp or gb into y, 

Kpate, make. A mu ji gbate, let us mend this. 

I mani yate huguhango, he made a 
trap far away. 

viii. Changes of Vowels. 

The principal change in the vowels is when a substantive is 
put in the definite form. This is effected by adding ^, meaning 
he, to the indefinite form. The resulting combination produces 
a variety of changes difficult to learn. The accent is shifted 
to the last syllable. 

Uxamples, 

T«^«««;4^« ru«,w« Definite termination. 
Indefinite CJombin. How pronounced 
termination. ation. ancf^tten. 

&, &i, 6, Goma, gome, crow. 

J 2,, Si, ei, Nyaha, nyahei, woman. 

I a, ai, (as in hay) Kaka, kakel, side. 

a, ai, ai, Wa, wai, big. 

(as in why) 







GRAMMAR 55 


Indefinite 
ennination. 


Combin- 
ation. 


Definite termination. 

How pronounced 

and written. 




6. 


ei, 


i, 


Pene, pen^, ringworm. 


6, 


Si, 


el, 
(as in hay) 


Ke, kef, father. 


e, 


6i, 


4. 


Pels, pSle, house. 


I. 


ii, 


(as in bee) 


Loli, loll, dance. 


i, 


ii, 


i, 


NgalT, ngali, thorn. 


», 


01, 


6ori, 


Golo, gol6 (goli), book. 


5, 


oi, 


oi, 


M^ndemo, M^ndemoi, 
Mendeman. 


2, 


Qh 


oi, 
(as in boy) 


Dogbo, dogboi, bush. 


?. 


oi. 


i. 


Folo, foil, sun. 


9. 


oi, 


(almost m) 


Nyapo, nyapul, girl. 


9, 


oi, 


oi, 


Sasalo, sasaloi, a partridge 


fi, 


iii, 


iii-, 


Ngalu, ngaliii, egg, moon. 


"> 


ui, 


i, 


Kotu, kotf, stone. 


0, 


ui, 


ui. 


Tutu, tutui, a swamp bird. 






(almost wl) 


a messenger. 



ix. Words Much Alike. 
The following list includes a few nouns that in their definite 
form are much alike, as well as some other similar words. 



ngari. 


thorn. 


ngar^ 


a coarse grass, 


ngale. 


mat. 


kul6, gul^, 


cloth. 


kol6, gol6. 


book. 


koli, 


scissors, 
iron. 


kol^, gold. 


cold, clean. 


gold, 


weeping. 


gole, 


buy a wife. 


kQlf, 


search. 


kol6, gold, 


divide. 


kold. 


barrel. 


kpli, 


leopard. 



56 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



kuli, 


small. 


ko^ 


snail. 


koli, 


lizard. 


guli, 


tree. 


keni, 


elderly perg 


kern, 


bamboo. 


wuli, 


tree. 


wuli, 


oil 


wuli, 


small. 


ndop^, 


deer. 


ndopui, 


child. 


ndond^, 


pig- 


ndfindoi, 


millipede. 


nd^ndi, 


silence. 




Also: 


lo, 


be. 


lo, 


see. 


lo, 


send. 


lo, 


like (verb). 


lo, 


leave. 


iQ, 


day. 


loi, 


day, rum. 


191, 


son. 


1q6, 


country. 


loli, 


call. 


lolel 


how many 1 


ngera, 


one. 


ngera, 


sweep. 


nyi, 


bite. 


yi, 


sleep. 


la. 


lay. 


la, 


name. 



And mcmy others. 



CHAPTER II 

SUBSTANTIVES 

i. Definite and Indefinite Forms. 

There is no definite or indefinite article in Mende. Its 
place is taken by % he, which is added to the indefinite form 
of the word. The pronunciation of the resulting combination 
of vowels has already been explained, see Chapter I, viii. 

The indefinite form is used — 

(i) When an indefinite meaning is clearly indicated, as 
kia gomhu na, like fire. 

(ii) In negative sentences, as numu gbi na^ nobody is there ; 
Gl nvmu lai, I saw nobody. 

(iii) When followed by an adjective. The adjective then 
takes the definite form. Hindg wovei, the old man. 

(iv) When followed by a numeral adjective, as tamo yira^ 
one man, or a certain man ; numu lolu, or nu Iglu, five persons. 

(v) Yocative case, as Ngewo I God ! 

The definite form is used — 

(i) When in English the article the is used, as ngeyei lo mi ? 
where is the rope 1 

(ii) When the word is used independently as in answer to 
a question, as Gho hi longola ? Mhoghe, What do you want 1 
The cutlass. 

(iii) After a possessive pronoun, as nya kvle, my cloth, 

(iv) When followed by a demonstrative pronoun, as dak- 
pcdQi ji, this young man. 

(v) Yocative case, as ndakpeij young man ! It will be seen 
that for the vocative case both indefinite and definite forms 
are used. 

There are a few words which are not invariably put into 
the definite form, the reason for using the indefinite form 
being probably euphony. Kana, box, is usually heard only in 
the one form; and substantives having hu as an affix may 

67 



58 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

remain unchanged, or the i indicating the definite may be 
added to the first component word, or be put at the end, as 
gohu, goihu, gohui, belly. Sometimes it is immaterial whether 
the indefinite or the definite form be used, as hei ndia, or hei 
ndiei, sit in the middle. Occasionally the indefinite is used 
when the definite is clearly indicated, or vice versd. The reason 
may be euphony or carelessness. 

. ii. Gender. 

There is no gender to nouns, adjectives, or any other part 
of speech. 

For human beings different words are used to express the 
sex, as — 

hindoi (def.), man. nyahef {def,\ woman. 

For further examples see Yocabulary of Relationships, etc., 
Part III, vii. 

To the names of animals the words hina, hinei, male ; ha, 
hei, female, are added, as — 

nika hinei (def,), bull. te hinei (def.), cock, 

nika hei (def,), cow. te hei (def.), hen. 

nika ha wai (def.), the big cow. 

iii. Number. 

The indefinite plural is formed by adding nga, a or ni to 
the indefinite form singular. 

The definite plural is formed by adding sia to the definite 
form singular, and also more rarely by adding sia to the 
indefinite form plural, nga, the a being modified under the 
rules for using the definite. 

Eosamples, 

Singular. Plural. English 

Indefinite. Definite. Indefinite. Definite. 

Maha mahei mahaa maheisia king. 

or 
maha 
mahanga mahang6isia 

or 
manga 



GRAMMAR 



59 



Siognlar. 
Indefinite. Definite. 



Nyaha 



Nwoni 
Pupu 



nyahef 



nwoni 



pupui 



Plural. English. 

Indefinite. Definite. 

nyahaa nyaheisia woman, 

nyahanga nyahangeisia 

CT 

nyanga 

nT^onia nwonisia bird, 

nwoninga nwoningeisia 

pupua pupuisia ant. 

puponga pupuDgeisia 



Mendemo Mendemoi 



Ngengemo ngengemoi 



Mendebeleisia Mende- 
man. 



Numu or nu 
Higbemo 



Hindo 



numui 
higbemoi 

ihigbeng6i 



Irr^nlar. 
Mend^bela 

(b'ra) 
Mendinga 

ngengeb'ra ngengebelelsia labourer, 
(this form 
is often 
used for 
the definite) 
nunga 
higbebera 
higbenga 



person. 



nungelsia 

higbebeleisia sick man. 
higbengeisia 
ihigbe'goisia 



hindoi hinga 



hingeisia 



the sick 

one. 
man. 



The termination ni added to the indefinite singular seems 
to be employed to give a collective sense. Some Mendes do 
not appear to know it. 

iv. Case. 

There are no case inflections. The nominative, vocative and 
accusative cases are the simple word with no adjunct. The 
dative and ablative are rendered by the aid of preposi- 
tions, the various uses of which are given in their proper 
place. After verbs of motion, though, the name of the place 
is stated without a preposition, as i ya Bonth^ he has gone to 
Bonthe. 

The genitive case is expressed by placing the possessing 
noun first, both being in the definite form, as mahei pdeiy the 



60 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

king's house ; or by inserting a possessive pronoun between 
the two nouns, as mahei ngi peleiy the king his house. 

V. Compound Nouns. 
Compound nouns are formed by placing the qualifying 
noun first in the indefinite form. 

Exa/mples, 

Indefinite. Definite. English. 

Pelenda pelendei doorway. 

Ngelegohu ngelegohu heaven. 

Njala njalei landing-place. 

Fuhaninga (hani, thing) f uhanisia insects. 

Wehinda wehindei conduct. 

Diminutives. 
Nika iQ nika iQi calf. 

Te 1q te iQi chicken. 

vi. Substantives formed by Addition op Suffixes to other 
Parts op Speech. 

Numerous substantives are formed by the addition of 
prefixes or suffixes to other parts of speech. 
Prefix i. 
Suffixes ge, hQ, la, ma, mo, nyo, ya. 

All suffixes are added to the indefinite form. 

Uses. 

i. This prefix is added to adjectives in the definite form, 
and forms a substantive which only appears in the definite form. 

It is also added to abstract nouns, serving to emphasize 
their meaning, and formiiig a sort of superlative. 

Examples, 
(i) ifelegei, the second ; from fele, two. 

ipekeisia, the others ; from peka, other, 
ihigbengoi, the sick one ; from higbe, sick, 
(ii) ikelemei, the end ; from kelema, kelemei, end 

{verby kele). 
itatomei, the beginning ; from tatoma, tatomei, beginning 

{verhy tato). 
imahui, the top ; from mahu, top (jprep, mahu). 

ingui, the head j from ngu, ngtii, head. 



GKAMMAK 61 

Ge or g% a rare suffix to form abstract nouns. 

mamage, foolishness; from mamu, foolish, 

nyandegi, beauty; from nyande, fine. 

Added to numerals, and with the prefix t, it forms a series 
of ordinal words, as 

isawagei, the third ; from sawa, three, 

ikelemagei, the last ; from kelema, end. 

This must not be confused with ga, definite gei^ meaning 
husk, etc.; as 

nwoni gei, oyster-shell. kcUi gei^ empty snake-skin. 

ffuj literally inside, is used to emphasize words, chiefly 
those of one syllable, as ta, tdhuy town (but tei hu, in the 
town) ; nja or nje, njehuy water (but njei hu, in the water). 
The indefinite form only is used. 

Im is added to the simple form of the verb to form a verbal 
noun. It becomes lei in the definite form. See under Verbs. 

Ma is added to the simple form of the verb to indicate 
place, as 

njif sleep ; njlma, njlmei, sleeping-place. 

la, lie down ; lama, lamei, lying down or 

sleeping-place. 
kele, end ; kelema, kelemsi, end. 

Mo is added to adjectives or verbs to indicate agent, as 

Tigenge, work ; ngengemo, ngengemoi, worker. 

koiDu yale, split wood ; kowuyalemoi, wood-cutter. 

Memde, Mende ; Mendemoi, Mendeman. 

Fu, European ; Pumoi, European. 

Nyo denotes companion. Its uses are few. 

hm, sit ; heinyo, heinyoi, neighbour. 

kOf war ; konyg, konyoi, enemy. 

jia, journey ; jicmyQ, jianyoi, travelling com- 

panion. 

iSbrw^i, an institution for women; /Siawc^i nyo, Sandi nyui, com- 
panion in the Sandi bush. 

Ya denotes quality, condition. It forms abstract nouns. 

Ng^a, old ; ngovaya, ngdvayei, old age. 

mia, friend ; mhaya, mbayei, friendship. 



CHAPTER III 



ADJECTIVES 

i. Inflection. 

Adjectives are inflected like nouns. They follow the same 
rules as to hard and soft consonants, and they have their 
indeflnite and definite forms, singular and plural. 



Indefinite. 
Mini 

Miningo 

Yekpe 

Yekpengo 



Singular. 



Definite, 
mini 

miningoi 

yekpei 

yekpengoi 



Plural. 



Indefinite. 

minia 

mininga 

miningoa 

yekpea 

yekpengoa 



Definite, 
minesia 

miningoisia 

yekpeisia 

yekpengoisia 



heavy, 
good. 



ii Syntax. 

The adjective follows the noun it qualifies. The rule of 
qualification is as follows : — 

The noun remains (i) in the indefinite form, 
(ii) in the singular number. 

The adjective may be either in the indefinite or definite 
form, singular or plural, according to the meaning required. 

Uaximples, 

Haka (mcfe/.), hakef (def.). Load. 

A heavy load. 



Huka mini. 
Haka mini 
Haka mininga. 
Haka minisia. 
Kya haka mini. 



(My load is nya hakei). 
62 



The heavy load. 
Heavy loads (inde/.). 
The heavy loads {def. ). 
My heavy load. 



GRAMMAR 63 

If a demonstrative pronoun be added the rule is as follows: — 

The noun is (i) in the indefinite form, 

(ii) in the singular number, 

the adjective is (i) in the definite form, 

(ii) in the singular number, 

and the demonstrative pronoun is in the singular or plural 
as necessary. 

Examples. 

Haka mini ji. This heavy load. 

Haka mini nasia. Those heavy loads. 
Hindo wove! ji. This old man. 

Exceptions. 
There are a few exceptions to the rule. 

(i) The first concerns a few plural nouns which may be 
considered as collective nouns, as nunga, persons; ndenga, 
children; nunga gbi, all persons. 

(ii) The word yakpe, meaning the same or only, seems to 
follow the noun either in indefinite or definite form-:- 

Ngi 191 yakpei. Her only child. 

Foil yakpei na ma. On that same day. 

I njia yakpei le. He spoke the same word. 

(iii) A further exception is when an adjective joins with mo, 
the suffix meaning person, to form a compound noun. The 
adjective is then treated as if it were a qualifying noun, and 
comes first, as — 

Kpatemo (indef.), kpatemoi (def,), rich man. 
Yekpemo (indef,), yekpemoi (def.), good man, but nu 
yekpei, the good man, or the good person. 

The difference is, that yekpemoi is a complete noun in itself, 
independent of any question of qualification, whereas nu yekpei 
states the fact, which is the purpose of an adjective, that the 
man is good. 



64 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Haka gbi hindei na. 
Hakei ght 
Haka yira. 
Haka fere. 
Haka fere jisia. 
Nya yakpei. 
Ngi yakpei. 
Ngi loi yakpei. 
I njia yakpei le. 
Numu gbi. 
Numui gbi. 
Nimga gbi. 
Hani gbi. 
Numu tenga. 
Hindei gbi. 
Ji nyandengo 

va. 
Bi wa na gbi. 



Further examples. 

No load is in that place. 
Every load. 
One load. 
Two loads. 
These two loads. 
I alone. 
He alone. 
Her only child. 
He said the same word. 
Nobody, 
Everybody. 
All persons. 
Everything. 
Somebody. 

Every place, wherever, 
le genge gbi This is useful for every kind 
of work. 
Bring all of them. 



iii. Adjectives ending in ngo. 

There is a class of adjective formed from other_adjectives by 
the suffix 72^0, as nyande^ fine ; nyandengo. 

The ngo form is generally used in the predicative sense, and 
le (to be) may be added or not. 

Adjectives in ngo are also formed from verbs. When the 
verb stem has this termination a past participial sense is 
created, and the word so formed can be treated as an adjective. 



Eocamples, 



Kula nyande. ' 

Kura nyandei. 
Kur6 nyandengo, or 1 
Kul6 nyandengo le. J 
Numu higbengo. 
Niunui na higbengo le. 
Ti sawango (ti jangd). 



A fine cloth. 
The fine cloth. 

The cloth is fine. 

A sick man. 
That man is sick. 
They are three. 



This adjectival form is inflected for definite and plural. 



GRAMMAR 65 



iv. Comparison. 

There are no inflections to indicate comparison, but as in 
many, if not most, African languages, an indirect method has 
to be made use of. 



Comparative. 

(i) Tewe, dewe, tewe, de, meaning to cut, pass, etc. 

Nya halei I ISwS na ma. My medicine is better than 

that. 
Hani ji i dSni jima. This thing is better or bigger 

than this one ; or, 
has some better quality 
whatever it may be. 

(ii) Ma. = to or on, with a word representing size, etc. 

Numui na wovango bima. That person is older than you, 

i. e, is old to you. 
Numui na ndgpg bima. That person is younger than 

you, i,e, is a boy to you. 
Ndamba ngi gbayango hua- The crocodile is stronger than 
T^8^ gbQto ma. all animals. 

(iii) A simple adjective, with the ngo termination, fre- 
quently expresses a comparative when used absolutely. 

Bi yepe gbotongo. You talk too much (lit. 

plenty). 
Mahaguhango (pronounced Too far. 
mahangwango). 

(iv) The phrase Ifisa^ it is better. 

I fisa bi ji wili. It is better you do this. 

Superlative. 

Tmm with *all,' or other similar word added, forms the 
superlative. 

Ngilei ji wongo le, i d6we This dog is the biggest, 
ipekeisia ma. 

S 



66 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

The definite state of the adjective is often sufficiently 
emphatic to express a superlative. 

N^ lo^o a SiT' } I ^^''^ **^« ^'^^^ °''«- 

V. Numeral Adjectives. 
(i) Cardinal Numerals. 

1 y§la or yira (ngera). * Ita ' is used only in counting. 

2 fele. 

3 sawa. 

4 nani. 

5 lolu. 

6 woita. 

7 wofela. 

8 wayakpa. 

9 tau. 

10 pu. 

11 pu mahu yira. 

12 pu mahd fere. 

18 pu maha wayakpa. 

19 pu maha tau. 

20 nu (or numu) yira gboyongo. 

21 nu yira gboyongo mahu yira, 

29 nu yira gboyongo mahu tau. 

30 nu yira gboyongo mahd pu. 

31 nu yira gboyongo mahu pu mahu yira. 
40 nu fere gboyongo. 

70 nu sawa gboyongo mahd pu. 
100 nu lolu gboyongo, or usually hondo, a corruption of the 

English. 
200 hondo fele. 

A hundred is the Monde's limit. Anything beyond that 
is 'many'; and for all practical purposes this is sufficient, 
seeing that there are no accounts to keep, nor matters requiring 
mathematics, and that precision in West Africa is unimportant 
from the native point of view. 

The cai'dinal numerals come after the noun, which retains 
the indefinite form either singular or plural. 



GRAMMAR 
ExmnpUs, 



67 



I ndoi le fere. 
Nwoni sawa. 
Wa gboma yira. 

I haei wa pu a ngend^ na. 

Yira be i na. 
Jia sawa bi do. 



She bore two children. 
Three birds. 
Bring one more. 

He killed ten beasts on that 

morning. 
There is not even one there 
Walk three paces and stop. 



(ii) Ordinal Numerals. 

The prefix i and suffix ge are added to the cardinal to form 
the ordinal numerals. 

First, ihailagen,. This is an exception. 

Second, ifdegei. 

Third, isatoagei. 
And so on. Any great extension of these forms does not seem 
to be in practical use. The cardinals are fallen back on. 

Tese also means ^r^^ adverbially. See under Adverbs. 

Some other words seem to acquire an ordinal use, as — 

ikpdkolagd and ikelemagei, the last ; ikdkdmagei the side part. 



Examples, 



Fsle ihalagei. 
Bia yese wa. 
Ta yese wa. 
Ji yese wani bima. 

Fsle ikpakolagei. 
F€l€ ikelemagei. 



The first house. 
You come first. 
He comes first. 
This one came before 

you. 
The last house. 
Ditto. 



(iii) Distributive Numerals. 

The distributive 'niunerals are formed by reduplication of 
the cardinal numerals, as — 



Bi ti la ngera, ngera. 

I ti dewe a fefele {or felefele). 



Lay them one by one. 
Jle sent them ^wp by 
two. 



68 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

(iv) Multiplicative Numerals. 
Hu yela, once. 
H\i fele, twice. 
Hu pa, ten times. 
Hu gbotongo, plenty of times. 

The hu is often omitted, as — 

Massa ye i bi lahlnga yira. Master says he has 

already warned you, 
or warned you once. 
(Hani) pu pu na sawa. Three times ten. 

(Hani) nani nani {or na How many are three 

nani) na sawa Idle mia 9 times four 1 

{Hcmi, thing, may be used or not used.) 
Bi ya na yira 1 Have you ever been 

there 1 

Ma is substituted for M, as — 

Ngi pe hi ma pu. I have done it ten 

times. 

(v) Predicative Form. 

Ti jango. They are three. 

Ti sawango. Ditto. 

Ti f elengo. They are two. 

Bi yango i le You are not the only 
(yango = yelango). one. 



mu 
wu 



CHAPTEE IV 

PRONOUNS 

i. Personal Pronouns. 
Thb personal pronouns are the following — 

a, b. c, d, e. /, g. h. L j, 

ngi - nga - ngia ngi nya nya ng5 (a)ng5 
bi bi ba 1u-xf ^^^ ^i* ^^^ ^^ b5 (a)bie 

i - a ta ta ta ta ngi 6 (a)ngie 

r ma 1 / X .. 

ma { . \ mua mua mua mu me (a)mue 

\^muenij ^ ' 

wa { , f* . \ wua wua wua wu w5 (a)wue 

\ wuenij ^ ' 

ti - ta -[ .' . \ tia tia tia ti tS (a)tie 
Ngi and w^a (first person) are sometimes softened to ^land ga. 

Explanation, 

a. The simple form as used with the aorist and past tenses. 
With the vowel lengthened the negative is implied. 
h. The form used with the imperative mood. 

c. The form used with the present and the future tenses. 
With the vowel lengthened the negative is implied. 

d. The form used in combining persons. Its use is further 
explained below. 

e. A lengthened or emphatic form. It is made more emphatic 
by a repetition of the simple personal pronoun, as, rigia, ngi, 
bitty bi, etc. 

69 



70 TflE MEISTDE LA.NGITAGE 

/. This form followed by be makes a compound personal 
pronoun, as ngi be, even I. 

g. The form used with the continuous mood, as, ni/a lo 
womia, I am coming. It is also used when the pronoun is 
repeated for emphasis. It is then sometimes followed by lo, 
to be. Mua lo mu ... we it is, we .. . 

K The objective form. It stands before the verb it is 
governed by. 

Also the possessive form. It precedes the noun, which is in 
the definite form. It is used to form the compound personal 
pronouns, nya vuli, myself ; nya nda and nya wo, my own, or 
mine. 

It is, further, the form used in conjugating verbs when they 
take the ngo termination. See Chapter VI, iii. Tenses. 

i. The negative conditional form. 

j. An independent form of the personal pronoun. It has a 
special use, as — 

M^ndemo (lo) abie 1 Are you a Mende ? 

M^ndemo angg. I am a Mende. 

Gender, — There is no gender to any of the personal pro- 
nouns. This is only ascertained by the context. 

Syniactic<d observations, 

(i) A personal pronoun is required between a noun and a 
verb. 

(ii) The only form of pronoun the use of which requires 
special illustration is that under d. In English two per- 
sonal pronouns can be joined by the simple copulative and, 
and the following verb stands in the plural. In Mende the 
construction is different. The first pronoun, of whatever per- 
son, is put in the plural, and the second pronoun immediately 
follows it, the verb being in the plural and preceded by its 
proper pronoun. Hence / and you becomes fve you, we ; he 
and she becomes they he, they. 

The lengthening of the vowel is possibly caused by the 
preposition * a,' with, being merged into the pronoun. 

The combination is as follows — 

Ma bia, or ma hie. I and you (sing,). 

Ma ta. I and he. 





GRAMMAR 71 


Ma wueni. 




I and you (pt). 


Ma tieni. 




I and they. 


Wata. 




You and he. 


Wa tieni. 




You and they. 


Tata. 




He and she. 


Ta tieni. 




He and they. 




Examplea. 


Wa ta a K. 




You and she shall go. 


Watalo waK. 




Ditto. 


Wa ta mia wa li. 




Ditto. 


Ke ta ta ti ya. 




And he and she went. 


Ye mia wa ta wu 


lima? 


Who are you going with ? 


A mu kei. 




With our master. 


Wa teni a li mia. 




You and they go yonder. 


Ta tieni ti li. 




He and they have gone. 


Mu gbi a hei. 




Let us all sit down. 


Ma tieni mu li. 




I and they go. 
I and he^will go. 


Ma ta (mia) ma li. 




Hindei gbi bi li na i 


cna bia 


Wherever you go we both go. 


ma li. 






Ti ye lo na ta tieni 


a foil 


They were both there, he and 


na. 




they on that day. 



(iii) A similar construction occurs when a noun is combined 
with a pronoun, as — 

Bia wa Wuseni (lo) a li You and Wuseni go there, 
mia. 

(iv) Another idiom of the language is seen in the following 
examples, the plural appearing where the singular is used in 
English. 



Mua nya loi mu longa. 



Gi ya mu yg. 

Mu nya lenga gbele mu 

goi ve. 
Ye, mu hei na mb§. 
I ya ti y5. 



I see my child at last (what a 
mother says after her child's 
long absence). 

I go to my own country. 

I will fill all my children's and 
my own belly. 

He said, Stay here with us. 

He went to his country. 



72 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



(v) SamCi or selfy is rendered by yakpe. 

Nya yakpei. I myself, or I alone. 

Bi yakpei ma. You yourself. 

Bi yakpei bima. Ditto. 

Ngi yakpei, or ta yakpei. He himself. 

Ti gbi ti yakpei. They are all the same. 

The Mende does not say it is the same, but they are the 
same, 

(vi) There is a negative use of the pronoun in J as follows — 

Mabia mue ya hei hinda You and I will not sit down 

yira. in one place. 

Bs, mue sese. You said. Let us not slice it. 

ii. Demonstrative Pronouns. 
There are two demonstrative pronouns. 

Jz, this. Plural, jisia, jia. 

iVa, that. Plural, nasia, naa, or nd, 

Na is sometimes best translated the. The demonstrative 
pronoun follows the noun, which stands in the definite form 
singular. If it follow noun and adjective, the noun is in the 
indefinite form singular and the adjective in the definite form 
singular. The demonstrative pronoun alone takes the 
plural form, with one or two exceptions. Both ji and na 
can be used substantively, taking also the forms iji^ indj inai. 



Kule ji 1 nyandeni. 
Bindi hindei na. 
Naa ti gula % 
Naa ti na. 
Bi ji lOnga. 
Ngi loni d nd. 
Kea ji na. 
Kea na na. 
Li bi wa na mia. 
Ta ya ji ; ta lo a ji. 
Ji ta ya na. 
Ga na hugo lo. 



Examples, 

This cloth is not good. 

Is Bindi there, (lit. That place.) 

Have they fallen ? 

Those there. 

You left this. 

I do not like that. 

like this. 

Like that. 

Go bring that (thing) over there. 

It is not this ; it is this. 

It is not that. 

I will attempt it. 



GRAMMAR 



73 



Iji mia. 

Ji liyandengo le genge gbi 

va. 
Ji nyandengo bo va ? 
Ye, mba wai na. 
Na gbl bi waila. 
£i wa na gbi. 



It is this ona 

This is useful for everything. 



Is this of any use ? 
He says that man is the senior. 
Bring either. 
Bring all of those. 
Note. — Na, that, must not be confused with twT, now, or 
na, there. 

iii. Relativb Pronoun. 
Na, that, plural nasia or nd, is the only one. It is, however, 
rather the demonstrative pronoun than a true relative pronoun. 
Numui na a wa nya ye. The person who comes to me. 

A sentence in which a relative would occur in English is 
usually broken up into two simple co-ordinate sentences. 

iv. Interrogative Pronouns. 

Fc, who. Ghe, what. 
Ye, who, whose. Plural, yea, yeni. 

It is followed in all forms by lo, is, are. Ye lo is frequently 
shortened to yo. 

Ye also means how. For this meaning see Chapter VII, v. 



Examples. 



Ye lo a bie ? Yo a bie % 

Ye mia bie ? 

Bia bi ye ? (unusual). 

Ye lo na 1 

Ye nd6 bima? or Yo nd6 

bima? 
Ye lo ind5 bima ? 
Ye lo bi mbai le ? 
Yeni lo ta wa be % 
Yea lo ta wa be 1 
A ye bijei lo wu ji weni % 
Ye gurd lo % 
Yo ngi wO a kul6 ji *? 
Ye mia ? 
Ye lo miando? 
Bi bi yo va 1 



Who are you ? 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 

Who is there? 

Who told you % 

Ditto. 

Who is your friend ? 

Who come here ? 

Ditto. 

With whose name did you do this? 

Whose cloth is it ? 

Ditto. 

Who is it ? 

Who is over there ? 

For whom are you here ? 



74 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Also — 



What is he (it) like ? 
What is his name 1 



Ngi gbiayei lo a ye ? 
Ngi bij6i lo a ye ? 

Gbe, what ; ighe, which ; plural, ighea, igbmii, igbo, gho, 
Ghe lo = Gho. 



Gbo ba pe na ? 

Gbe hani lo a ji ? 

Gbe lo a ji? 

Gbo i weni a hakei ji ? 

Gbo bi longwola ? 

Gbo ba pema ? 

Gbe yenge mia bd guma ? 

Gb5bima? 

Bo ba f embe ? 

Gbelo? or Gbe mia? 

Gbele? 

Bg gbe? or Gbo ba nde? 

Ysgbe? 

Ma gbo we ? 

Igb6? origbele? 

Kole igbe? 

Gbe hakef sia mia mia ? 

Gbe mia pa pena ? 

Bi lei gbo benge bi keni 

ange? 
Bo bi wa kama ? 
Gbe kuU lo ? 
Gi ko gbo i wenga. 

Gbo bi waila ? 
Gi ko gbwe mia. 
Gi ko gbwe mia aji. 
Numui igb^ ? or igb^ le ? 



What are you doing there ? 

What thing is this ? 

What is this ? 

What has he done with that load ? 

What do you want ? 

What are you doing ? 

What kind of work can you do ? 

What is the matter with you ? 

What are you going to give me ? 

What is it? 

What is the matter ? 

What do you say ? 

What does he say ? 

What shall we do ? 

Which ? 

Which book? 

What are those loads there ? 

What are you going to do then ? 

What name did you give (lit. 

show) me yesterday ? 
What do you come for? 
What cloth is this ? 
I do not know what has become 

of him. 
What have you brought ? 
I do not know what it is. 
I do not know what this is. 



Which person ? 
Other ways of rendering what, 
Bi biy6i ? What is your name ? 

Bi Mende biyei ? What is your Mende name ? 

Bi le biyei ? What is your birth name ? 

Kgi bijei lo a ye ? What is his name ? 

^gi gbiay6i a gbo ? or What is its appearance ? 

Ngi gbiayei lo a ye ? Ditto. 



CHAPTER V 

THE VBRB TO BE 

There are many forms of the verb to he^ as — fo, mta, le^ ye, 
yde, ya. 

i. Zo. 

The usages of the h form of the verb to he may be classified 
as (i) Substantival, and (ii) Auxiliary. 

Loy substantival. 

1. It is used impersonally. 

2. It can follow a noun without an intermediate pronoun. 

3. It can stand between a noun and an adverb. 

4. It cannot be used as a copulative between two nouns. 

5. It cannot be used as a copulative between a noun and 
adjective, but follows the adjective. 

6. It does not appear in a negative sentence, being a 
distinction of the positive. 

7. It usually follows words like ye ? who 1 ghe ? what 1 
mighe ? when % mi? where 1 

Examples, 

Mia lo. (1) It is yonder. 

Ta lo na. (3) It is there. 

Nya yenge lo be. (3) My work is here. 

Ye lo abie ? (7) Who are you ? 

Ye lo na 1 (3 and 7) Who is there ? 

Ye kul6 lo ? (2) Whose cloth is it ? 

75 



76 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Njia wulo lo. (5^ 

Kpg lo nyama. (2) 

Migbele lo bi wa be ? (7) 

Migbe lo bi wa be 1 (7) 

Ye lo i ndeni bima ? (7) 

Gbe lo 1 

Powe lo. 

Bia wa Wuseni lo a li mia. 

Bia lo i Iga. 

Gbe lo ma pe able ? 

Nya lo ngi kali wani. 

Bia lo mi ? 

Bimi lo? 

Bi pui mi lo 1 

Nya lo. 

Nwoni lo 1 

Jo lo mil 

Pele nyamu lo. 

Nje gbotongo lo be. 

Bi bia bi bi lo ? 

Numu lo na ? 



It is a small affair. 

I am busy. 

When did you come here ? 

Ditto. 

Who told you ? 

What is it? 

It is a dove. 

You and Wuseni go yonder. 

You are left. 

What shall we do with you 1 

It was I who killed the snake. 

Where are you ? 

Ditto. 

Where did you put it ? 

It is I. 

Is it a bird 1 

Where is Jo ? 

The road is bad. 

There is much water here. 

Are you here for yourself 1 

Is anybody there ? 



Lo, auxiliary. 
As an auxiliary lo is used to emphasize the positive form of 
some of the past and future tenses, as — 

I wai lo. He has come. 

A wa lo. He will come. 

Ta lo mba mema. He is eating rice. 

Lo a. 
When it is required to express existence irrespective of 
time the form lo a is used. It is used when an attribute is 
required to complete the sense. 



Gbe hani lo a ji ? 

Ye lo a bie 1 

Taloaji? 

Mendemo lo abie 1 

Bia bi Mendemo lo abie ? 

Ngi bijei lo a Bindi. 

Gbe jongo lo a ji ? 

Kpele lo a ji. 

Nyanda lo a ji (or nyand6i). 



What thing is this ? 

Who are you ? 

Is this it ? 

Are you a Mende ? 

Ditto. 

His name is Bindi. 

How much is this ? 

It is all these. 

It is mine. 



GRAMMAR 



77 



Conjugation of Lo. 

Loj as a substantival verb, is only conjugated in the present 
tense. 

Nya lo. 
Bi omd bia lo. 
Ngi, i, and ta lo. 
Mu and mua lo. 
Wu and wua lo. 
Ti and tia lo. 

Also — 
Lo ange. 
Lo able. 
Lo angle. 
Lo amue. 
Lo awue. 
Lo a tie. 
(The negative of lo ange is yd a/tige. See under 7a.) 

iL Mia. 

This is an impersonal form, positive only. It is not conju- 
gated and is only used in the present tense. It must not be 
confused with mia, yonder. Mia and h (substantival) are 
usually interchangeable. 



KSmei mia ? 

Tamo mia wo. 

Nya wo mia. 

Ye mia bie 1 

Ta mia. 

Ta mia? 

Tonya mia. 

Gbe mia ba pe na 1 

Ha gbi mia 1 (Ha = hani). 

Nya mia. 

Gbe jongo mia 1 

Gome mia. 

Ye mia? 

Ta mia yira. 

Soja mm na angie. 



Examvplea, 

Is that the end ? 

There was once a man. 

It is mine. 

Who are you ? 

Therefore. 

Is he there % 

It is true, or Is it true % 

What are you doing there ? 

Is it anything ? 

It is 1. 

How much is it ? 

It is a crow. 

Who is it? 

That is one. 

He is a soldier now. 



78 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Nya mia Jo. 
Ngi yeto Jo mia. 
Ma ta mia ma li. 
Gl ko gbwe mia. 
Gl ko gbwe mia aji. 
Ta mia a ji ? 
Nya bije mia a Jo. 



I am Jo. 

I thought it was Jo. 

I and he will go. 

I do not know what it is. 

I do not know what this is. 

Is it this) 

My name is Jo. 



iii. Le, 

Le is a substantival verb representing a statement of fact 
without any attribute, unlike h a, which requires an attribute. 
It is unconjugated. It is used with adjectives and verbs 
ending in ngo. It seems occasionally to be changed with lo 
for euphony. 

One of its most important uses is to form the negative 
phrase I le, it is not, which is used to transform what would 
otherwise be a positive statement, into a negative one. This 
is dealt with later in Chapter VI, vi. on negative construction. 

Note. — It must not be confused with Ze, yet. 



Nya le. 
Mua le. 
Bi wo le. 
Gbo le i iQa ? 
Komo wa a le. 
Kurungo le. 
Tonya le. 
Kpandingo le. 
Bi wo i le. 
Bia 1 le ga bi doli. 
Tia 1 le. 
Tonya i le. 

Ngi lahlngo le. 

Mi le ? (rarely used). 
Nya le Jo le. 
Hakef gboma le ? 



Excumples, 

It is I. 

It is we. 

It is yours. 

What is left? 

He is a great warrior. 

All right, or It is accepted. 

It is true. 

It is hot. 

It is not yours. 

It is not you I call. 

It is not they. 

It is not true. 

H^has'been} ^'^•»^- 

Where is it 1 

I am Jo. 

Is it another guinea-fowl ? 



GRAIVIMAR 



79 



iv. Ye. 

Fe is a past form of the verb to be. It does not stand at 
the end of a sentence as the last word, but requires a comple- 
ment. It is the only form of the verb to be that is somewhat 
fully conjugated. 



Present. 
Sing. Ngi ye. 

Bi ye. 

I ya 
Fl. Mu ye. 

Wuya 

Tiye. 

Future. 

Sing. Nga ye lo. 

Ba ye lo. 

A ye lo. 
FL Ma ye lo. 

Wa ye lo. 

Ta ye lo. 



Past;. 
Ngi ye lo, 
Bi ye lo. 
I ye lo. 
Mu ye lo. 
Wu ye lo. 
Ti ye lo. 

Future continuous. 
Nga yema. 
Ba yema. 
A yema. 
Ma yema. 
Wa yema. 
Ta yema. 



For the negative of the above the vowel of the pronoun is 
lengthened, the Past and Future losing the lo, 

^e lo is occasionally transferred to the end of the sentence. 

As an auxiliary it is used in the pluperfect tense, and in the 
continuous mood with the past tense. 



Ngi ye lo na. 

I ye na. 

Ti ye nu woita gboyongo. 

Bi ndei a ye lo be sina. 

Ke topomamo yela lo i ye 

Damasku. 
Kina le i ye na, bi wo i 
_ yele? 

I ye gbengeme be. 
I ye gbengi be lo. 



Exomiples. 

I was there. 

He was not there. 

They were 120 persons. 

Your brother will be here to- 
morrow. 

And there was a disciple at 
Damascus. 

Whilst it was there, was it not 
thine own 1 

He was not here yesterday. 

He was here yesterday. 



80 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

Bi ye mi gbl 1 Where were you yesterday 1 

I ye gbl bi (be) ? Was he here yesterday ? 

I, i mbe gbl. Yes, he was here yesterday. 

Ti ye nu yira gboyongo. They were twenty. 

V. Yde, 

Yde is a form that is chiefly used with adjectival and verbal 
forms in ngo. It is also a past form which can be used without 
an attribute. 

Examples, 

Ngi lahingo yele. He was warned. 

Ngi lahingo a yele. He will be warned. 

Ngi gbakisia tewengo yele. His wings were cut. 
Kia le i ye na, bi wo i yele ? Whilst it was there, was it not 

yours ] 

vi. Ya. 

Yd is unconjugated. It is not of common use in its positive 
form. In its negative form, i, e, with the lengthened vowel 
yd, it stands as a negative to lo in its combination lo a. 

Note. — There are words ya = go and ya = not. 

Ya a-ng@. 
Ya a-bie. 
Ya a-ngie. 
Ya a-mue. 
Ya a-wue. 
Ya a-tie. 

Examples. 

Maha ya a bie. You are not a chief. 

Tonya ya na. That is not true. 

Powo ya na. That is not a pigeon. 

Kpele ya ji. It is not all these. 

Ta yana. It is not this. 

Nu weka gbi ya na. There is no one else there. 

vii. To be omitted. 

Where in English the verb to be is expressed, in Mende it 
is often left out. 



GRAJtfMAR 



81 



Examples. 



Tabe. 

I bendo. 

1 na. 

Mendemo able 9 

£ia mi ) 

Hind6 ji i ya nyande. 

Njiei kulgngo. 

Pelei nyamungo. 

Pelei 1 kpekpeni. 

Tamindo? 

Ta hindei na. 

Yambasu hindei na 1 

Ngau nani i Sandi hu. 

Tiabe? Ti be. 

Yira be i na. 

£lal6 ji ta nwonisia va. 

Ti nu gboyongo. 

Nya la a Jo. 

Ngi Igi i nyalgi. 

Bond6 nyapgi w6l5 woma. 

Ta jil 

Nu wa angie. 



He is here. 

He is not here. 

He is not there. 

Are you a Mende 1 

Where are you ? 

This place is not good. 

The matter is a small one. 

The road is bad. 

The road is not good. 

Where is he 1 

He is there. 

Is Yambasu there ? 

She was four months in the 

Sandi bush. 
Are they here 1 They are not 

here. 
There is not even one there. 
This cartridge is for birds. 
They were twenty. 
My name is Jo. 
Her child was a girl. 
The okra tree was behind the 

woman's house. 
Is it this) 
He is a big person. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE VERB 

i. Division. Voices. 

Separate forms do not exist for transitive, intransitive, 
active or passive. The exact meaning can only be judged by 
the context. For instance, he% intransitive, means to sit; 
transitive, to set Fele, pe, to do, means also to become or 
to be done, GvZa means either to fall down or to throw 
down. 

The passive may, however, be rendered by the use of thsy 
with an active verb ; as, he has been beaten may be translated 
they beat him, ti ngi ndewei lo. 

A passive sense may also be obtained by the addition of 
the suffix ngo to transitive verbs, as n^i dewengo yele, he was 
beaten. This suffix makes a past participial meaning when 
added to transitive verbs, and verbs can also be formed from 
adjectives by means of the same. The conjugation is the 
same in both cases. 

ii. Moods. 

With the exception of the continuous mood there is no 
inflection of the verb form for mood. 



IMPERATIVE MOOD. 

The imperative, strictly speaking, consists of only the second 
person singular and plural. 

82 



GRAMMAR 83 

Examples, 
Singular. Plural. 

Intrcmsitive. Li, go I A li, go I 

Transitive. Pa, kill it ! A pa, kill it ! 

Bi ngi hou. A wu ngi hou, catch him. 
Ngi go a kole. Give him the book.] 

INFINITIVE MOOD. 

Three suffixes are used to indicate the infinitive mood, ma, 
Za, va. 

Ma is used after verbs of motion, as — 
I ya muama He has gone to bathe. 

Such sentences may, however, be rendered — 
Gi ya ngi mua. I go, I wash. 

La is used when the infinitive depends on certain other verbs, 
as coflfif begiriy finish, show, etc. This form is preceded by a, a 
preposition meaning vrith, and is thus clearly shown to be a 
verbal noun. As such it is capable of taking all the inflec- 
tions of a noun. 

I guni a lila. He could not go. 

This may also be rendered — 
I guni i li. He could not go. 

Va is used whenever ma or la are not strictly applicable 
as — 

Kpoyei i kpekpe gboli ysl. The sea is not good to drink. 
Mu ya me va. We go to eat. 

Examples of sentences in which the infinitive is avoided — 
Ngi yeto bingi ga li lo I intended yesterday going to 

dogboi ha. the bush. 

Bi f embe ngi me. Give it to me to eat. 

DS ngi ma a na wiri. Tell him not to do that. 



84 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

INDICATIVB AND SUBJUNCTIVE HOODS. 

The indicative mood calls for no remarks. The subjunctive 
mood is the indicative in a subordinate position, preceded by 
a particle or having the particle understood. 

CONTINUOUS MOOD. 

The continuous mood is formed by adding ma to the verb- 
stem. It is conjugated throughout by the aid of auxiliaries. 
It presents the -ing termination in English, sls I am going, 
nya lo lima. 

iii. Tenses. 
The pronoun is inflected as well as the verb, and with the 
aid of auxiliaries a great variety of tenses is produced. 
The complete conjugation of the verb is as follows — 

AORIST. 
Positive. Negative. 

Ngi tewe, I cut. Ngi tewe, I do or did not cut. 

Bi tewe. Bi tewe. 

I tewe. I tewe. 

Mu tewe. Mu tewe. 

Wu tewe. Wti tewe. 

Ti tewe. Ti tewe. 

(Sometimes, but rarely, lo is added to the positive to render 
the form quite past time.) 

PRESENT. 

Nga tewe, I cut. Nga tewe, I do not cut. 

Ba tewe. Ba tewe. 

A tewe. A tewe. 

Ma tewe. Ma tewe. 

Wa tewe Wa tewe. 

Ta tewe. Ta tewe. 

PAST, I. 

Ngi tewea, I cut. None. 

Bi tewea. 

I tewea. 

Mu tewea. 

Wu tewea^ 

Ti tewea. 



GRAMMAR 



85 



Positive. 
Ngi teweni, I cut. 
Bi teweni. 
I teweni. 
Mu teweni. 
Wu teweni. 
Ti teweni. 



PAST, II. Negative. 

Kgi teweni, I did not cut. 

Bi teweni. 

I teweni. 

Mu teweni. 

Wu teweni. 

Ti teweni. 



Lo may be added to the positive to emphasize it. 



Ngi dewenga, I have cut. 

Bi dewenga. 

I dewenga. 

Mu dewenga. 

Wu dewenga. 

Ti dewenga. 

Ngi tewei lo, I have cut. 

Bi tewei lo. 

I tewei lo. 

Mu tewei lo. 

Wu tewei lo. 

Ti tewei lo. 



PAST, III. 

None. 



PERFECT. 

Ngi tewei, I have not cut. 

Bi tewei. 

I tewei. 

Mu tewei. 

Wu tewei. 

TI tewei. 



PLUPERFECT. 

/tewenga,Ihadcut. Ngi ye teweni, I had not cut it. 
Ngi ye J tewei To. 



[teweni. 
rtewenga. 
Bi ye i tewei lo. 
[teweni. 
rtewenga. 
I ye J tewei lo. 
[teweni. 
rtewenga. 
Mu ye J tewei lo. 
[teweni. 
rtewenga. 
Wu yeJ tewei lo. 
[teweni. 
rtiewenga. 
Ti ye J tewei lo. 
[teweni. 



BI ye teweni. 
I ye teweni. 
Mu ye teweni. 
Wii ye teweni. 
Ti ye teweni. 



86 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



PUTURB. 
Positive. Negative. 

Nga dew6 lo, I shall cut. Nga tewe, I shall not cut. 

Ba dew6 lo. Ba tewe. 

A dew6 lo. A tewe. 

Ma dew6 lo. Ma tewe. 

Wa dew^ lo. Wa tewe. 

Ta dew^ lo. Ta tewe. 

PUTXJRB AND CONDITIONAL NEGATIVE. 

Ng6 tewe, I shall not cut, or 
I may not cut. 
B6 tewe. 
£ tewe. 
Me tewe. 
W5 tewe. 
Te tewe. 

PUTUBB PERFECT. 

(Kina)ngi tewealo, (When) Ngi tewea, I shall not have cut. 

I shall have cut. 

Bi tewea lo. Bi tewea. 

I tewea lo. 1 tewea. 

Mu tewea lo. Mu tewea. 

Wu tewea lo. Wu tewea. 

Ti tewea lo. Ti tewea. 

The emphatic form of the above tenses consists in the 
repetition of the personal pronoun either with or without Zo, 
as nya nga tewe, or nya lo nga tewe. For the form of personal 
pronoun used, see Chapter lY, i, g, 

IMPERATIVE 

Gbe ngi lewe, let me cut. , — 

Tewe, cut. Ba tewe, do not cut. 

Gbe i tewe, let him cut. A (or E) tewe, he must not cut. 
Gbe mu tewe, or A mu — 

tewe, let us cut. — 

A tewe, cut. Wa tewe, do not cut. 

Gbe ti tewe, let them cut. Ta (orTg) tewe,they must not cut. 



GRAMMAR 



87 



CONTINUOUS MOOD 

Note. — The accent is on the first syllable of * tewema ' 
throughout. 



Positive. 
Ngi tewema (lo), 

was, cutting. 
Bi tewema (lo). 
I tewema (lo). 
Mu tewema (lo). 
Wu tewema (lo). 
Ti tewema (lo). 



AOBIST. 

Negative. 
I am, or Ngi tewema, I am not, or I 
was not, cutting. 
Bi tewema. 
I tewema. 
Mu tewema. 
Wu tewema. 
Tl tewema. 



PRESENT. 

Kya lo tewema, I am cutting. None. 

Bia lo tewema. 

Ta (lo) tewema. 

Mua (lo) tewema. 

Wua (lo) tewema. 

Tia (lo) tewema. 

PAST. 

Ngi ye tewema, I was cutting. Ngi ye tewema, I was 

cutting. 

Bi ye tewema. Bi ye tewema. 

I ye tewema. I ye tewema. 

Mu ye tewema. Mu ye tewema. 

Wu ye tewema. Wu ye tewema 

Ti ye tewema. Ti ye tewema. 



not 



FUTURE, I. 

Nga ye tewema, I shall be 

cutting. 
Ba ye tewema. 
A ye tewema. 
Ma ye tewema. 
Wa ye tewema. 
Ta ye tewema. 



Nga ye tewema, I shall not 

be cutting. 
Ba ye tewema. 
A ye tewema. 
Ma ye tewema. 
Wa ye tewema. 
Ta ye tewema. 



88 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

FUTURE, II. 
Positive. Negative. 

Kga tewema, I am about to Ng& or ngS tewema, I am not 

cut. cutting, or shall not cut. 

Ba tewema. Ba or b6 tewema. 

A tewema. ? g tewema. 

Ma tewema. % mS. 

Wa tewema. % we. 

Ta tewema. % te. 

(The deficient persons I have not found.) 

NoTB. — It is a matter of great difficulty to find a verb that 
can be accurately conjugated throughout. Tewe may of course 
become dewe^ lewe, te, de or le, to suit the euphony of the 
sentence. 

INFLECTION OF THE NGO FORM 
PRESENT. 

Kya lahingo le, I am warned. 

Bi lahingo le. 

Ngi lahingo le, 

Mu lahingo le. 

Wu lahingo le. 

Ti lahingo le. 

PAST. 

Nya lahingo yele. 
Bi lahingo yele. 
Ngi lahingo yele. 
Mu lahingo yele. 
Wu lahingo yele. 
Ti lahingo yele. 

FUTURE. 

Nya lahingo a yele. 
Bi lahingo a yele. 
Ngi lahingo a yele. 
Mu lahingo a yele. 
Wu lahingo a yele. 
Ti lahingo a yele. 

The negative of the above may be rendered — 

Ti nya lahlni, They did not warn me, etc. 



GRAMMAR 



89 



iv. Examples of the Uses of the Various Tenses. 

AORIST. 

Largely used in narration and for subordinate sentences 
without a conjunction. 



Ye, ti li ti ngi yenge wili. 

Ke ti yama ti yetahu. 

Tamoi i ya wo i nyahei jo. 

A mu li mu yenge w6. 
Bi ya li le? 
Gi htigo. 



Ye, nga huei ji fe bi ye. 
A ngi wili ngombui ya. 



He said they should go and 

work for him. 
And they return, or returned, 

to their home town. 
A man went once upon a time 

to get a wife. 
Let us go and work. 
Have you not gone yet % 
I do not understand. 

PRESENT. 

He said, I give you this meat. 
He throws him on the fire. 



PAST, I. 



Mu waa be bengeme. 

Ke ti ya ke ti Mtia mbei ma 

dole tima. 
Bi bumbua botongo. 
Gi menia, hiye. 



We came here yesterday. 
And they went, and they 

reached the rice hungry. 
You took too much. 
I heard all right. 



PAST, II. 

This is the form mostly used in negative sentences. 
Ye bi tOni % You sent you ] 

Ngi gbeni. I don't care. 

Yo n jiei leni 1 Who spoke ? 

I ya lini. He has not gone. 

PAST, III. 

This form is often used to express a conditional sentence. 
Sange mia gi ngi longa. I have just seen him. 

Gi kpoyonga. I am just finishing. 

Ke i ngi mbai lulinga. And he called his friend. 

Bi penga lo, ba ha lo fe. If you do it, you will surely 

die. 



90 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



PEBFBOT. 



Ngi wai lo angle. 
Gbeva bi wai kaka? 



Gi toi, or gi ngi toi. 

I kpande wuai. 

Mu yamai ! {lo is omitted). 

Gbo bi wailal {Note verb ftyrm.) 

Bi hit! lo na so ? 

F9I1 i gbiai lo ke nwonlsia ti 

wa. 
NgT numu loi. 
Ngi inbQi lo. 
I ngi hakei loilohti. 

Q^ote verb form,) 



I have brought him. 

Why did you not come 

quickly 1 
I have not seen it. 
He has not cleaned the gun. 
We are back ! 
What have you brought ? 
Did you go all the way % 
If the sun came out the birds 

would come. 
I saw nobody. 
T have hit it {of ahootmg). 
He has lost his load. 



PLUPBRPKCT. 

Kina ti ye welani. When they had finished. 

lye pei lo kina bi ye na ? Had he done it when 

were there ? 



you 



Nge wo, ga bi bawo lo. 

Nga ya na wiri gboma. 
De ngi ma a pele. 
Sina ma to (Zo omitted). 
A ti do lo. 



FUTURE. 

I said the other day, I will 

cure you. 
I shall not do that again. 
Tell him he must not do it. 
To-morrow we shall see. 
He will send them. 



FUTURE PERFECT. 

Kina bi ngi doa lo, bi ngi When you shall have found 
wa. (lit. seen) him, bring him, 

Doi (the perfect tense) can be used instead of doa. 



Wa li na. 
A wa mbome. 
Wa mba 
Tali. 



IMPERATIVE. 

Do not go there. 
Bring the hammock. 
Come to me. 
They must not go, or 
not go. 



shall 



GRAMMAR 



91 



CONTINUOUS MOOD 



Ngi wildma. 

Ye, mu lima lo. 

Ye, nya be, ye, ngi hama. 



AORIST. 

I am finishing. 
He said we are going. 
She said, I too, she said, I 
shall die. 



Ta lo nye gbema. 
Ye ke mua wama. 
Train ta wama. 
Train lo wama. 
Train i wa. 
Mua jiama. 

Ta wama. 



PRESENT. 

He is catching fish. 

And he said we are coming. 

The train is coming. 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 

We are moving (». e. in a 

boat or train). 
He is coming. 



Kina mu ye jiama. 
I ye kine guldma. 



Bi kenye a ye 
kpokovgi ji] 



Ba hama. 

Nga tema. 
NgS dema. 

Nga wama. 
E totoma. 



PAST. 

Whilst we were travelling. 
It was nearly falling. 

FUTURE, L 

wama a Will your uncle be coming this 
afternoon 1 

FUTURE, II. 

You will not die. 

(I am not passing (i. e, I do 
not want you to make 
way for me). 
I am (just) coming. 
He is not going to begin. 



NGO TERMINATION 
PRESENT. 



Kurungo le. 

Ngi kpakisia tewengo yele 

Ngi gahu hango yele. 



It is accepted ; all right. 
Its wings were cut. 
He was very tired. 



92 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

V. A Special Form of Conjugation is used for I say, etc. 

Nge, I say, or said. 
Bg, you say. 
Yg, he says. 
Mg, we say. 
Wg, you say. 
T6, they say. 

It is used alone, as — 
Nge, bi wa a londemi imumui. I said, Bring the small nails. 

If it follows nde, say, it is best rendered saying, as — 

I ndea, ye, ba li na. He said saying. Do not go 

there. 
Ye, nge wo ga bi bawo lo. He said, I said before I will 

cure you. 
Te,mu mbei yilia gengebra we. They said, We cooked rice for 

the labourers. 



vi. Nbgativb Construction. 

The expression of the negative is one of the greatest diffi- 
culties in the Mende language. The addition of a single word 
the equivalent of not to a positive statement, for the purpose 
of rendering it negative, does not occur. 

The following methods are adopted. 

(i) The one invariable indication of a negative is the 
engthening of the vowel in the pronoun attached to the verb. 

Ngl li, I go ; I^gi li, I do not go. 

(ii) The auxiliary lo, which is an indication of a positive 
statement, disappears when the sentence becomes negative. 

J^gd li lo, I shall go ; N'gd li, I shall not go. 

(iii) The negation may be rendered more emphatic by the 
addition of yd, not (sometimes Id), between the pronoun and 
the verb. 

N^gl toilo, I have seen him; I^gl yd toi, I have not seen (him). 



GRAMMAR 93 

(iv) The phrase I le, it is not, is sometimes added to the 
end of a positive sentence to render it negative. 

Ji n^cmdengo I le, this is not good. 

(v) When the verb to he ia negatived, the lengthened pro- 
noun stands alone before the complement. 

Ti ghQtgngo, Tl ghQtQ, they are not many. 

(vi) If the verb or adjective in the positive sentence has 
the ngo termination, the negative may be rendered by the 
addition of I le, or by dropping the ngo and substituting niy 
which is a past tense termination. 

Maheungo T le. 1 

Ti maheuni \ They are not equal. 

Ma-i-heuni J 

(vii) Gin, none (positive glU^ all), following a noun in the 
indefinite form will also put a sentence into the negative. 

Kayei lo ti ma. They are to blame. 

Kaye gbi ti ma. They are not to blame. 

Ha gbi na. Nothing there. 

(viii) For the second persons of the imperative mood the 
future tense is used. 

(Bi) liy go ; Bd li, do not go. 
A liy go ; Wd li, do not go (j>l,). 

(ix) Yd is the negative of lo a. 

Mahei lo abie. You are the chief. 

Mahei ya abie. You are not the chief. 

Fvo'ther Eocampiea of Negative Sentences. 

Hindei na i kuhama. That (or the) place is not far. 

1 nyand^. It is not good. 

Nu gbgtO 1 wai. Not many persons came. 

Nunga gbptg ti wai. Ditto. 

Nunga gbOtga ti wai. Ditto. 

Nunga tl gbgtOni ti wani. Not many people came. 

Nga li lo, ngg lembi. I will go, I will not delay. 

Gi ya li na. I have not been there. 



94 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



BiyalilSl 

Kgg la pe gboma. 

Ngi lila, miningo le. 

Ngi ya toi. 

Ngi la hindei ji we. 

I ya wela 

Ye, mu ya wime. 

I ya gboyoai. 

I ya magboyoai. 

Ti ya lini le. 

I lini. 

I guni a ngi bawola. 

I gbptgni. 

Ti ngi goni. 

Kg! iQni a hale. 

Pele 1 nyandeni. 

Hindei na ma-i-guhani. 

W6pa 

Nya laguli guhango I le. 

Gbayango i le. 

Bia I le. 

Bia 1 le ga bi doli. 

Tonya i le. 

Bi wo i le. 

Numu gbi na. 

Ba nde numu gbl ma. 

Nya gbwe gbi na. 

Nya lima gbi njiei hu. 

Ye, numu gbi e soro. 

Navo gbl mu yeya. 
I navQi ngeya. 
Ke 1 nu gbl loni. 
Bi nemdhu gbi na. 
Ye, bi nduwinga lo, mbe gbi 
na bi me. 



Ba lua. 
Wa li na. 
Balilo? 



Bsli? 



Have you not gone yet? 

I will not do it again. 

I cannot take it, it is heavy. 

I have not seen it. 

I did not do this thing. 

He did not do it. 

He says we must not run. 

It is not finished. 

He has not finished. 

They have not gone yet. 

He did not go. 

He could not cure him. 

Not much. 

They did not know him. 

I do not want medicine. 

The road is not good. 

The place is not far. 

You must not do it. Cannot 

you do it? 
My beak is not long. 
There was no strength in him. 
It is not you. 
I do not call you. 
It is not true. 
It is not yours. 
There is nobody there. 
Do not tell anybody. 
I have no business there. 
I have no heart in the matter. 
She said, Nobody shall marry 

her. 
We have no money. 
He has not the money. 
And he saw nobody. 
You have no sense. 
He said, If you clear the 

ground you will have no 

rice from it to eat. 
Do not be afraid. 
Do not go there. 
Will you go, or not ? 



GRAMMAR 



95 



Tonya ya na. 
Nu gbgt^ 1 na. 

Yira be i na. 

I ya gbOtO na. 

Mabia mue ya hei hinda yira. 

Bs, mue sese. 
Ye, mu ya li. 
I pglebu mba 
Gbeva bi bere wuai 1 

Ba li huguhango (ngwango). 
Giko. 
I bSndo. 
Ng6 wa. 

Ha kpande gbi nya yeya. 
Ma-i-guhani 
Ta ya na. 
Kowe yana. 

Li bi njei gbandi ba ya bi 
gow^ gama wua. 

Dg ngi ma a na wiri. 



That is not true. 

There are not many persons 

there. 
There is not even one there. 
Not much there. 
You and I will not sit down 

in one place. 
You said, Let us not slice it. 
He says, We must not go. 
He is not in the house here. 
Why have you not washed 

your trousers] 
Do not go far. 
I do not know. 
He is not here. 
I shall not come. 
To-day I have no gun. 
It is not far. 
It is not this. 
It is not an eagle. 
Boil the water before you 

wash (the wound on) your 

leg. 
Tell him not to do that. 



CHAPTER VII 

ADVERBS 

There are adverbs of place, time, manner, and of affirmation 
and negation; also many adverbial phrases of the same 
nature. 



I. Adverbs of Place. 

The number of words used solely as adverbs of place is very 
small. They are supplemented by other parts of speech used 
as such. There are, further, many words which can be used 
either as adverbs or prepositions. 

(1) The following are pure adverbs of place — 

Bs, here. Miando, yonder. 

Bs-ndo, here. Mi? where? 

Mbg, here. Mindo ? where ? 

Na, there. A or ? where ? 

Mia, yonder. Polon, far. 

(2) The following are used also as prepositions — 

Mbu, beneath. Lugo, Luwo, or Tuwo, or tugo, 
Bu, beneath. in front. 

Ma, on, above. Gulo, in front. 

Maha, on the top, above. Poma, behind. 

Ha, inside. Woma, behind. 

Kpela, near. Ndia, middle. 

Gbea, near. Gama, towards. 

Gbeanga, near. Nga, on top. 
96 



GRAMMAR 97 

(3) The following adverbial expressions occur — 

Kuha {adj,\ far (in various Ngitiya, outside. 

inflections). NgeUya, aloft. 

nind6 ji, here. Eaka, side. 

Hind^ na, there. Eakei ji, this side. 

Dome!, on the ground. Kakei na, that side. 

Examples oftJie uses of the foregoing. 

Be, here (not to be confused with be, even, also). Be-ndo 
is a strengthened form. 

Wa be. Come here. 

Nya yenge lo be. My work is here. 

Ta be. _ He is here. 

1 be-ndo, or I be. He is not here. 

Massa ye wu yama be. Master says come back here. 

Mhe, here, to me, with me, etc. 

Mu yama mbe ? Shall we return to whore we 

came from? 
Ngi yama mbe-oh ! I am going back home ! 

Wa mbe. Come to me. 

Mbe ka. This side. 

Lole mia mbe 1 How many are there here ] 

I ye gb! bi (be) *? I, i mbe gbl. Was he here yesterday 1 Yes, 

he was here yesterday. 
Nu ji mbe i ndea bima. This person here told you. 

Gbeva bl luma mbe ? Why don't you answer me 1 

iTa, there (not to be confused with nd, now). 

Ta na. He is there. 

Mi lo bi li na gbengeme ? Where did you go yesterday 

I na. He is not there. 

Ngi ya ngi na gbwg. I am going to look there. 

Mi lo gbi Yamba i yenge na 1 Where did Yamba work 

yesterday ] 

Mu yd na. We went there. 

Mia, yonder. Miando is a strengthened form. 
Mu yama miando. We return yonder. 

7 



98 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Mi, where ; also mindo, mi lo, lo mi. 



Jo lo mi ? 


Where is Jo? 


Bi pe lo mi ? 


Where is your house ? 


Biye lo a mi? 


Where is your home or 




country ? 


Bi were lo mindo 1 


Where is your house ? 


Wu ndewe ta mindo ? 


Where is your brother ? 


Biamil 


Where are you ? 


Bimi lo? 


Ditto. 


Bia lo mi ? 


Ditto. 


Ta mindo ? 


Where is he ? 


Talomi? 


Ditto. 


Tamilo? 


Ditto. 


Bi mbai lo mi ? 


Where is your friend ? 


Bi hiya mi ? 


Where have you come from ? 


Bihimilo? 


Ditto. 


Bi pui mi lo ? 


Where did you put it ? 


Bi nda mi lo ? 


Ditto. 


Bi li mi lo lo f ele ji hu gi bi 


Where have you been these 


loni? 


last two days that I have 




not seen you? 


Bimi lo ge? 


Where have you been ? 


Kole jihimilo? 


W here is this letter from ? 


Ma li mi lo ? 


Where shall we go ? 


Mi lo ti ya na ? 


Where have they gone ? 


Mi yaka. 


W hich direction ? 


Bi ye mi ? or Bi ye mi lo ? 


Where were you ? 


Mindo bi yi lo gbue ? 


Where did you sleep last 




night ? 


Gi kQ mi mia i ya na. 


I do not know where he has 




gone. 


Gi kg mi i ya na. 


Ditto. 


Gi ko mi lo i ya na. 


Ditto. 


Gi ko mi le i ya na. 


Ditto. 


Bi ya gbl mi lo ? 


Where did you go yesterday? 


Mi lo gbl Yamba i yenge na ? 


Where did Yamba work 




yesterday ? 


A 


or 0. 


Abikei? 


Where is your master ? 


Jo? 


Where is Jo ? 



GRAMMAR 

Folon or pororij far. 



99 



I ya miando poron. 
I ya poron. 

Numui na gi toni ; i ya 
poron. 



It has gone far away. 
Ditto. 

I did not see the man ; he has 
gone far. 



Mhu or Jm, underneath. 

Li bu. Go underneath. 

Gbia mbu. Come out from under. 

Yo na mbu % Who is under there % 



Gbele ma. 
Ho ma. 
Hani gbi ma. 
^gi pe hi ma pu. 



Kda mahu. 
Te mahii. 



Jfa, on. 

Leave off, let go. 
Catch hold. 
There is nothing on it. 
I have done so ten times. 

Mahu, on the top. 

Lay it on the top. 



Raise it up. 



Hu, inside. 



Mbaw6 lo hti. 

Kal6 lo hti. 

Ta lo hu kru. 

Ngalui i la hu yia nani. 

I kpia hii. 



It is full of soap. 
The cartridge is inside. 
There is a little inside. 
The moon is four days old. 
She takes it out. 



Kpda, ghea, gheanga, near. 

Ba pu gb'rd. Do not put it near. 

Ba do kpela. Do not stand too near. 

Lugo, in front, luwo, tuwo, tugo. 

I dewea lugo. He passed in front. 

Ti ya tuwo. They have gone on in front. 

Tia tuwo. They are on ahead. 



100 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Li gulo. 

Ta gulo, Tia kulo (but ngi 

gulo = in front of him, see 

Prepositions). 
Lq kulo. 
Li kulo bi wime ngi to. 



Gvio, in front. 

Go in front. 

He is ahead, they are ahead. 



Stand in front. 

Bun on and look for him. 



Ta poma. 
Na woma. 



Poma, woma, behind. 

He is behind. 
Afterwards. 

Ndia, Ua, middle. 



La ndia. 

Fu ndia. 

Ngiri ndia. 

Guri yiri ndia, or Guri yiri 

ndia we. 
Hei ndia, or Hei ndiei 
Wa ndia. 



Lay it in the middle. 
Put it in the middle. 
Tie it in the middle. 
Tie the stick in the middle. 

Sit in the middle. 
Come into the middle. 



Wala gama. 
Gbo bi wa kama. 



Pu nga. 

Kuha, far. 

Ta kuhama. 

Mahdguhango (pronounced 
MaKngwango), 

Ma I guhani. 

I guhani. 

I kuhama. 

Numui na gi toni i ya ku- 
hama. 

Numui na gi toni i ya mahu- 
guhango poron. 

Bia kuhama loma poron ? 



Gama, towards. 

Bring it to me, or forward. 
What do you come for? 

Nga, on top. 

Put it on top. 

This is properly an adjective meaning high. 

It is far. 
Ditto. 



It is not far. 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 

I don't see that man, he has 

gone far. 
Ditto. 

Can you see far (from where 
you are) ? 



GRAMMAR 



101 



Hinds ji, hinde na, here, there (slight variations in 
pronunciation). 



Hinde ji. 
Hindel na. 
Ta hingdel na ? 
yandi hindei na 1 
I hindei ji. 



This place. 
That place. 
Is he there ? 
Is Vandi there 1^ 
He is not her^: 



Ndom&iy on the ground. Ndome is a noun meaning ground, 
Pu ndomel. Put it on the ground, or floor. 

Ngitiya, outside, ii;i tlife yard, etc. 
Pili ngitiya. ThjxJw it outside. 

Jia l9i i l^ma ngitiya. ^ ^^X small child was passing in 

front. 



I le ngeleya. 



Ngeleya, aloft. 

He climbs aloft. 



Kaka, side ; kakeiji, kakei na, this side, that side. 



Kaka wekei (or yekei) ma. 

Mi yaka 1 

Be ka. 

Li bi pu miaka ( = mia yaka). 

Mi aka ( = mi-yaka) i ya na ! 



The other side. 
Which direction? 
This side. 

Put it on the far side. 
Which direction has he gone 
now] 



ii. Adverbs op Time. 



(1) They are as follows — 

Na 

Sange. 

T§t6. 

Ha. 

Sina. 

Gbenge, gbengeme, or gbl. 

Sina ndambai, or Sina nda- 

mbuai. 
Gbenge ndamb(u)ai. 
Gbue, or kpindiji. 
Ge, gege, or hgwe. 



Now. 

Just now. 

Early. 

To-day ; often simply now. 

To-morrow. 

Yesterday. 

The day after to-morrow. 

The day before yesterday. 
Last night. 

Some time ago ; a few days ago; 
recently. 



102 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Wo. 

' Vo^^a, wgkpo. 
Wo.^Kjn. 
Ke yal^. 
Pen, or pei.' 
Yese. * ,.%> 
P§p6. •'. .[>^ 

Kunafo. 
Kunaka. 

Le. "V/. 

iTo Mends word, ''^V 

Ngova, gba,.etc. (also by '* 

subjunctive sentence). 
Kiua. 
Kina gba. 



Formerly. 
Ditto. 
Ditto. 
At once. 
First. 
Ditto. 
Often. 
In future. 
Ditto. 
Yet, still. 

Soon (for examples see under 4). 
•Pefore. 

* iV^Ben (is also a conjunction). 
Since. (For examples of kina 
see under conjunctions). 



(2) The following are nouns which are used as adverbial 
expressions of time in various combinations — 

Kpele, kp6, gbe (migbe lo = Time. 

when). 

Kpoko volo. Evening. 

Kpindi. Night. 

Ngenda. Morning. 

Ku, folo, lo. Day. 

Fo. Year. 

Ngalu, ngau. Month. 

There is no word for week. It is translated seven days. 

Examples. 

Ndi now. 

A wa na. Come now {pi,)* 

Ye na mu hei na. He says now we are to sit 

down here. 



Sange, just now. 

Bi lima sange 1 Are you going just now ? 

Sange mia gi ngi longa. I saw him just now. 

Sangi mia ti yd. They have just gone 



GKAMMAR 103 

Tete, early, coupled with ngenda, 
Sina ngenda tste mu li. We go to-morrow very early. 

fftty to-day, sometimes means simply now. 

Mu lovoni ha. We have not been unsuccessful 

to-day. 
A wa lo ha 1 Will he come to-day 1 

Sina, to-morrow. 

Sina ndamb(u)ai. The day after to-morrow. 

Sina mu li dogbo wai hu. To-morrow we go * bush/ or 

up-country. 
Sina ma to. To-morrow we shall see. 

Sina ndambuai a wa lo. He will come the day after 

to-morrow. 

Ghengemej ghenge, gbi, yesterday. 

Bengeme ndamb(u)ai. The day before yesterday. 

John Bull i li lo gbl ge- Did John Bull go to work yes- 

ngema ? terday 1 

I ye gbl be ? Was he here yesterday ? 

Gbu'e, last night; also gue, 

Ti yi gbue. They slept the night. 

Mindo bi yi lo gbue 1 Where did you sleep last night? 

Bi ndo gboli lo gbue ? Did you drink spirits last night? 

Bi na gboyoa gue 1 Did you finish that last night ? 

Ge, recently, or gege. 

Bi ya mi ge lo f ele gS bi lo 1 Where have you been recently ] 

Bi ya ge mi lo fele gS bi lo 1 Ditto. 

Bi mi lo ge ? Where have you been lately 1 

I ye lo be ge. He was here just now. 

Howe, recently. 
I ye lo be howe. He was here a short time since. 



104 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Wo, wogba, wokpo wo poi'on, formerly. 
Tamo yira mia wq, There was once a man. 



Ngi higbea wokpo. 
Ji wo bi wa bi hea be ] 

Kea wogba mu wai be. 



I have been sick a long time. 
How long have you been sitting 

here? 
It is a long time since we came 

here. 
Have you done that before 1 
I told you before not to clear 

the bush. 
I saw the thing long ago. 
Ditto. 



Bia WQ na welema ? 

Ji wo gi ndea, nge, ba dogboi 

luwi. 
Gl hani longa wo poron. 
Gl hani longa wo hilgu- 

hango. 

Ke yakpe, at once. 
Bi ji wiri keyakpe. Do this at once. 

Pen, pei, or pe first. 

Ji wiri pg. Do this first. 

Mu hei pen foli gbia. We sit here until sunrise. 

Mawulu pen njei i wa. Wait until the rain comes. 



Ta yese wa. 
Bia yese wa. 
Ji yes^ w6. 
Ji yes6 wili pen. 
Ji yes6 wani bima. 



Bi wama be pgp5. 



Yese, first. 

Ho comes first. 

You come first. 

Do this first. 

Do this first. 

This one came before you. 

Pepe, often. 

Do you often come here % 



KunafQ, kunaka, in future. 

Kunafo ba ji wiri. In future you will do this. 

Kunakd ba ji wiri. Ditto. 

Kunafo ba pe hS. In future db not do so. 



Bi ya li le 1 



Le, yet. 

Have you not gone yet ? 



GRAMMAR 



105 



(3) Before^ formerly^ etc. 

Before is expressed in a variety of ways, as illustrated below. 
See also pen, «?o, yeae. 

Did you know that person before % 
I knew him before. 
I did not know him before. 
He said good-bye to us before 

he left. 
Do this before you go to the 

office. 
Do this before I go. 
Do this before you go to work. 
Have you come this road before? 
Have seen that before % 



Bi numui na golo ngova ? 

Gl ngi gQlo ngova. 

Gi ngi go ngova gbi, 

I ngenda ve lo mu we i ya li. 

Ji wili pen bi ya li offici hti. 

Bi ji wi gba ngi ya li. 

Ji lo ba pe bi ya li gengemi. 

Bi wani pele ji ngova ? 

Bi na doilo ngova, or ngSva- 

ma? 
Ji yese wani bima. 
Bi ya miando bi wa bi ji we. 

Ma li lo pen ngelei i ya wa. 
Ji wo ngi ndea, ngg, ba 

dogboi luwi. 
Bia wo na welema ? 
Bi ya na wg ngova ? 
Bi ya na yira % 



This one came before you. 
Before you go there come and 

do so. 
We will go before daylight. 
I told you before not to clear 

the bush. 
Have you done that before 1 
Have you been there before ? 
Have you ever been there ? 



(4) Miscellaneous 

Be gbele. 

Ku yekd ma. 

Lo yekd ma. 

Ngau iQle mia a wa 1 

Bi lima yengema ngau 

woita va. 
Fglole? 
FqIo yira. 
Fo yira. 
Lo lolo ? 

Ku fere, or Lo fere. 
Foli ji ha. 



expressions relating to time. 

Just now. 

Another day, another time. 

Ditto. 

In how many months will he 

comel 
You are going to work for six 

months. 
How many years ? 
One day, i,e, period of daylight. 
One year. 
How many days 1 
Two days. 
To-day (a more emphatic form 

than ha). 



106 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Foil ji kpen. 

FqIq ngundiei. 

Ku gbi ma. 

Ye, ikpeme i leinga. 

Ke i huei wa pu a ngende na. 

Migbele lo bi wa be 1 
Ye, bi ngi mawulu kru. 
Ngau nani i Sandi hu. 

Ke i ya hu-i-yi f ele. 

F5 yira soi gi bi loi. 

Fo yira i dogboi ha. 

A kpindi. 

Kpindi ji. 

Fo dewengoi. 

Fo neni ma mbe le lo. 

Bi li mi lo lo fele ji hti gi bi 

loni? 
Ngalui i la hu yia nani. 
Ma li lo a ngenda voli. 
Nga yi pu mahu lolu nya 

wama. 
Nga yi woita iwofelema nya 

(lo) wama. 
Lo wgfera nya wama. 
Kpindi ji pi ngi yini. 
Ti me a kpindi na. 
Foil gbia ke mu ya. 
Ngi yeto bingi ga li lo dogboi 

hu. 
Gi ko ; be (i, e. gbe) ngewo. 

A wa lo kakd. 

Tato kaki. 

Yeka a gbowu nyama ji va. 

Bi gbahS pei ji va. 



All this day. 

Midday. 

Everyday. 

He says the time is late. 

And he killed ten animals that 

morning. 
When did you come here 1 
He says, Wait for him a little. 
She was four months in the 

Sandi bush. 
And he went away for two 

days. 
I have not seen you for a whole 

year. 
He was one year in the bush. 
To-night. 
Last night. 
Last year. 
Next year we will cut (the 

bush) here. 
Where have you been these 

last two days? 
The moon is four days old. 
We will go at sunrise. 
I will come in a fortnight. 

I will come in a week. 

Ditto. 

I did not sleep all night. 

They ate that night. 

At sunrise we go. 

I intended yesterday going to 
the bush. 

I don't know; wait till day- 
light. 

He will soon come. 

Begin soon. 

I shall soon be tired of this. 

You will soon be tired of 
this. 



GRAMMAR 



107 



Bi na wei lo bi wa sange. 

Bi luva gbl mi lo ? 

I tewea poma kpen. 

Kina gba ngi wani ngl bi loi be. 

Ti p na sawa. 

Kia ha wu wani migbe mia i 

lini? 
Kina ha gba wu wani gbe 

yenge lo wu penil 
Kpindi wa. 
Kpindi welea. 
Ngelewo sina mu li na. 

Lo woita i bumbu ndome. 

Mahei na fo i lewe nani i 

gbate gbon. 
Ngau lole mia mu kei a wa ? 



As soon as you have done that 

come. 
Where did you spend the day 

yesterday 1 
He spent all the day cutting. 
Since I came I have not seen 

you here. 
They spent three days there. 
How long is it since he went 

away? 
Since you came here what work 

have you been doing t 
Night comes. 
Ditto. 
We will go there at daybreak 

to-morrow. 
After six days he picked him- 
self up. 
That king for over four years 

increased in wealth. 
In how many months will 

master cornel 



iii. Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation. 

lorK Yes. 

Er er. No. 

Sao, sago. No (emphatic). 

Hiye. Certainly. 

Kere 1 Is it not so 1 

Ya, la, ma. Not. 

A question is often answered in a few words similar to those 
used in asking the same. 



iv. Adverbs op Manner, Intensitives, etc. 

Adverbs of manner follow the verb they modify. They are 
numerous, numbering in all some hundred and fifty. A 
large proportion of them seem to have a very limited use, 
and are possibly only employed to modify certain verbs to 



108 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



which they specially belong. In their etymology they seem 
to have no connection with any other part of speech. In 
English, adverbs are largely formed from adjectives by the 
addition of the suffix Zy, other European languages having a 
corresponding suffix. But Mende, though richer than some 
other African languages in adjectives, does not adopt any 
similar formation. An approach to it may, however, be con- 
sidered as made in the use of the preposition a, vnth^ with a 
noun, as a pims^ with running, a Imso^ with cunning, a tonya^ 
with truth. Some adjectives also, as ghoto, many, are used as 
adverbs. 



I ya a pime. 

I penga a mamag^. 

Tewe gbotongo. 

Tewe gboto. 

I mea gbi. 

I pei lo a nguwumage. 

I ndoi le gboto. 

I ndenga le gboto. 



Examples. 

He ran off. 

He acted foolishly. 

Cut plenty. 

Ditto. 

He ate all. 

He did it of his own accord. 

She bore plenty of children. 

Ditto. 



The following adverbs of manner j etc., are in common use — 



Gbama. 

Gboma. 

Gbon. 

Ka. 

K4kl 

Lela 

Le. 

Lome-lome. 

Lenga. 

Tenga. 

Ni, or hi. 

Panda. 

Te (much drawn out 

speaking). 
Wa. 
Yeka, yeke, kine. 



m 



To no purpose, for nothing, 

Again. 

Very much. 

Very much. 

Quickly. 

Slowly. 

A little. 

Cautiously. 

Together. 

Perhaps. 

So, thus. 

Properly. 

Continuously. 

Very (is the adj. great). 
Nearly. 



GRAMMAK 



109 



Eocam%ple8, 



Kpekpengo le gbama. 
I fei lo ova we gbama. 
Wa gboma yira. 
Wa fero gboma. 
Wa gboma fere. 
Hokel gboma le 1 
Bise, ka, ka. 
Ndakpei ! je ga nguri-oh. 

I lembinga ka. 

I po, ka ka. 

Wa kdki. 

Pe kdki. 

Jia lele. 

Jia lome-lome. 

Maw'u (mawulu) le. 

Tato le, or Tato gboma. 

Wu fere a li a lenga. 

Peni. 

Pe panda. 

Ba d5la sowi. 

Bi wolonga tg, bS gb6 ? 

I ye jiama te, ke i numu gbi 

loni. 
Ba nyoko we gboma.^ 
Ba ya na wi gboma. 
Tenga mu li dogboi hu sina. 

Kunafo ba pe hi. 
Kunafo ba na nyoko wili.^ 
Njei yeka i wa. 

I ye kine guUma. 
Yeka i ha. 



It is good for nothing. 

He gave it to me for nothing. 

Bring one more. 

Bring two more. 

Ditto. 

Is it another guinea-fowl ? 

Thank you very much indeed. 

Friend ! hurry up with the 

stick. 
He delayed very much. 
He cut hard. 
Come quickly. 
Do it quickly. 
Walk slowly. 
Walk cautiously. 
Wait a little. 
Begin again. 
You two go together. 
Do it so. 
Do it properly. 
Do not stand too near. 
You have cried a long time, 

will you not stop now ? 
He was walking continuously, 

and he saw nobody. 
Do not do so again. 
Ditto. 
Perhaps we shall go into the 

bush to-morrow. 
Do not do it so in future. 
Ditto. 
The rain will soon be here, (lit : 

The rain has nearly come.) 
It was nearly falling. 
He is nearly dead. 



Nyolco is a noun, meaning * manner.* 



110 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



V. How? 

The English how is expressed in many different ways as 
the following show — 



E5 lole bi kenye ji ha 1 

Lole mia knk'\ 
Nunga lole bi soa ? 

Nu l6le mia ti bi yeya 1 
Gbe jongo lo a ji ? 
I ye na ho ? 
Ta mia ga ye pe ? 

Te, ma ye pe mu mbei ji me % 

Ke angie ga ye pe. 

F5lole? Iglole? 

Nwoni na ba ye toli ? 
Ji wo bi wa bi hea be 1 

Lo lole bi ji weni ? 

Ji a hije be a li Mof we jia 

lole? 
Be ta Mofwe jia lole ? 
5a ye ji luli 1 
Nga tuli a . . . 
Ta, or ti, tuli a . . . 
Kia ha wu wani migbe mia i 

lini? 
Ngau lole (mia) mu kei a wa ? 



How many years have you been 

in this country 1 
How many are there there ? 
How many men have you 

obtained 1 
How many men have you 1 
How much is this 1 
How is it then ? 
How am I to do it ? What am 

I to do 1 
They said, How are we to eat 

this rice ? 
Show him how to do it (how I 

do it). 
How many years? how many 

days? 
How do you call that bird ? 
How long have you been sitting 

here? 
How often have you done this ? 
How far is it to Mofwe ? 

Ditto. 

How do you call this ? 

I call it . . . 

They call it . . . 

How long is it since he went ? 

In how many months will 
master come ? 



CHAPTER VIII 

PREPOSITIONS 

There is only one preposition properly so called in the 
Mende language, viz. a, with. The others are all postposi- 
tions. As, however, the word preposition is a recognized 
grammatical term it is more convenient to adhere to it. The 
reason for the idiom is not far to seek. A large number of 
the words used as prepositions are actually nouns, and the 
others, of which the derivation is not immediately apparent, are 
probably so by origin. Taking, therefore, the phrase Ta pelei 
woma, he is behind the house, it is seen at once that it can be 
translated, * He is (at) the house's back,' woma being a noun 
meaning back, and the qualifying or possessing noun coming 
first in Mende as it also does in English. The noun, therefore, 
which is employed as a preposition is placed last. 

There are no words for from, without and out. Prepositions 
representing in or at, etc., are used coupled with verbs whose 
sense is exit. Examples are given below. 

List of Words used as Prepositions. 

(1) Preposition preceding the noun — a, with 

(2) Prepositions following the noun. 

We or ye (according to To. 

euphony) 
Ma. To. 

Gama. To, towards. 

Va. Of, for, and also the to in the 

infinitive mood. 
Mahu. Upon. 

Gulo, lugo. In front. 

Tonga. Together with. 

Ill 



112 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

Of the above, ma, ganuiy mahu^ gtdo, tenga are used also as 
adverbs ; va (as fa) is used as a conjunction. A and we there- 
fore are the only ones that can be classified under prepositions, 
and under no other part of speech. 

(3) Nouns used as prepositions. They follow the noun 
they govern. 



Ngama (yama) (lit. 


eye 


or a 


Before. 


Labu (mouth- 


-under). 




Ditto. 


Woma. 








Behind. 


Kaka. 








Side. 


Kpela. 








Near. 


Ngeya (lit. hand). 






With. 


Ndia. 








Middle. 


Mba. 








On top. 


Ya (Ht. edge). 








Ditto. 


Mbu. 








Under. 


Ha. 








In. 


Goha. 








Inside. 








Examples. 



a, with, etc. 

Following the verb gbatey make, construct. 

Ti hege gbate a guli ji. They make soap of this tree. 

Following the verb gUi, think. 
Ye, ba gili & n4. He said. Do not worry about it. 

Following the verb go, give, or present with. 
I ti gQa a mehe. He gave them food. 

Sina ga hi go lo a hale. To-morrow I will give you 

medicine. 

Following the verb gu, can. 
I gu a lila. He cannot go. 

Following the verb henga, dream. 
Ke nyapui be i hengd a pumoi. And the girl dreamt of the 

white man. 



GRAMMAR 113 

Following the verb jd, touch. 
Ba ja a tie. Do not touch them. 

Following the verb A», show. 

Ke angie ga ye pe. Show him how to do it (how 

I do it). 
Ke i hdgenga a ngi hini. And she told everything to 

her husband. 
I ngi mayia ge a ngi kei. She complained to her father. 

Following the verb liy go. 

Mu li a pele na mu waila. We go the road we came. 

Li a ngie. Take him away. 

Following the verb ^, want, like. 

Nya longo a mehe. I want food. 

Gi loni k nd. I do not like that. 

Following the verb dgl^, dislike. 

Ti I9I0 a ngie nu gbate va. They disliked him because he 

was rich. 

Following the verb ndondo, cease. 
Ndondo a sore ! Stop that noise ! 

Following the verb tQtQ or ^a^^, begin. 

I toto a wola. She began to weep. 

I toto a nyandela. It is beginning to improve. 

Following the verb wa, come. 

Bi wai lo a n jiei 1 Have you brought a complaint ? 

Bi wai lo a ngie 1 Have you brought him ) 

Wa kol6 = wa a kole. Bring the paper or book. 

Following the verb yonga lewe, boast. 

Ke i yonga lenga a nasia And he boasted over all of 
gbele. them. 

Following the verb pe or we, do. 

Gbo ba pe a guri na. What are you doing with that 

stick. 
8 



114 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Other verbs sometimes admit of the same construction. 
I ti dewe a fefele. He sent them two by two. 



Wala nya ye. 
T5, ngi wala bi ye. 



We or ye, to, for. 



Ye lo bi wani a gol^ ji ngi ye ? 

Ye lo i kol6 f e bi ye ? 
TS, ma kulu ngi ye. 

Ji lo nya we. 

Gbele, b5 luiiia nya we t 

I ya miaka (we). 

I yala a pime ngi lenga we. 

Ta pe yakama we. 

Wa yenge silgi we. 

Mu mbel yilinga gengebVa we. 

I ya ngi yei ye. 



Bring them to me. 

I was told to bring them to 

you. (lit. They said, I 

bring to you.) 
Who have you brought this 

book for 1 
Who gave you the book 1 
They said, We do not agree to 

him. 
Lift this for me. 
What is the matter that you 

do not answer me ? 
He has gone in that direction. 
He ran off with it to his 

children. 
It is somewhere round about 

the house. 
Do not work for the spider. 
We have cooked rice for the 

labourers. 
He has gone to his own 

country. 



Ma, to. 



D5 ngi ma. 

Wa kak^i ji ma. 

Wa bi gbo nya ma. 

Hou na ma. 

Mbow6 yakpa koti ji ma. 

Njia nya ma. 

Ke ti hitia mbei ma. 

A gbe sor6 ma. 

Ndgle ti ma. 

B§ gu na ma. 

Lo yekd ma. 



Tell him. 

Come to this side. 

Come and help me. 

Catch hold of that. 

Sharpen the knife on this 

stone. 
I have a complaint. 
And they reached the rice. 
Leave off making that noise. 
They were hungry. 
Cannot you do that. 
Another day. 



GRAMMAR 



115 



KQti nya nwona nya gow6 ma. 
Hdei ji i ndowi boa ndol^ ma. 

Ba ngi lo lo pel6 ma. 

I ndom6 gbia ngi ma. 

Nda table ma. 

Nji bi gbakima. 

Ke i ngi lokoi loa dom^ma. 

I nye gbia njei hu, i pua ngiy6 
ma. 

Gbonda ngi ma i wa. 

Mu 11 jieisia ma ke mu wai. 

Nga na ma kolo. 
I Lite peli wai ma. 
I gombui doa kpal(^ma. 
Ke ti punga ndglema. 

I t5nga ti ma pelihil. 

Mu gbi mu hite mu yei ma. 

!Nja gbSi lo bima. 

Nya gbai bia. 

Ngi gbai lo nyama. 

Jo ngi gbai lo Wuseni ma pun 

yira. 
Ta ngi banga ti gboni hini yira 

ma. 
Gele na ma, or gele ma. 



the 
the 



and 



A stone has cut my foot. 
This animal dug the hole in 

the ground. 
You will see it in the road. 
He took off his shirt. 
Lay it on the table. 
Lower it on your shoulder. 
And he pointed his hand to 

his shirt. 
He took the Qsh out of 

water and put it on 

bank. 
Compel him to come. 
We have been for a walk 

we have come (back). 
I shall try that. 
He reached the road. 
He put fire to the farm. 
And they planted it in the 

ground. 
He followed them into the 

road. 
Let us all go and meet our 

mother. 
You are indebted to me. 
Ditto. 

I am indebted to him. 
Wuseni owes Jo one pound. 



and her friends shared 
one husband. 
Stop that. 



Ma is generally used after the verb to go when a place is not 
specified. When the place is mentioned by name no prepo- 
sition is necessary. When another verb stands subordinate to 
the verb to go, the subordinate verb is treated as a pure 
infinitive, as ti ya yima, they have gone to sleep; or as a 
verbal noun having the suffix ma, which takes all the in- 
fliections of a noun, as ti ya ti ylmi (indef. ylma), they have 
gone to their sleeping-place. 



116 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Mu li Sekondi. 

A mu li nya kpai. 

I ya gboma. 

I ya Dgoli boma. 

Mu ya yengem6. 

Ke i ya jejiam6 dogboi hii. 

Li bi yengem6. 
Gl ngi lima go. 

Ke ti ya mehe go'eme. 

Gbo bi wa pema nya gbeanga ? 

I ya nye gbeme njei hu. 



We are going to Sekondi. 

Let us go to my farm. 

He has gone to the w.c. 

He has gone to piss. 

We go to work. 

And he went for a walk in 

the bush. 
Go to your work. 
I do not know where he has 

gone. 
And they went to find food. 
What are you coming to do 

with me ? (lit. Near me.) 
She went to catch fish in the 

water. 



Gomiaj towards, at, etc. 



Li bi nwoni gama gbe. 

Li meh6 gama bi wala mu me. 

K0I6 ji wumbu bi kei gama. 

Wala gama. 

Ti wa nja yela gama. 

Fomemoi i hei lo sel6 gama. 

Numu yira lo nya gama. 
Numu yira do nya gama. 
Numu yira tewe nya gama. 
Wuseni i ya kole gama. 
Li bi pelei gama gbe. 

I hei lo sele gama. 
Wuseni lo Sandi gama. 
Li ngi gama. 



Go look for that bird. 
Go and bring our food. 
Take this letter to your 

master. 
Bring him forward. 
They came to some water. 
A man with a whip sat at the 

banana tree. 
One person is with me. 
Send one man to me. 
Ditto. 

Wuseni has gone for letters. 
Go and have a look at the 

house. 
He sat at the banana tree. 
Wuseni is with Sandi. 
Go for him. 



Va, for, of. 



Gboyei 1 gbekpe gboliva. 
Hale wu pundisia va. 



Salt water is not good to 

drink. 
Medicine for your mosquito 

(bites). 



GRAMMAR 



117 



Mu ya me va. 

Kale ji ta nwonisia va. 

Ti IoIq a ngie nu gbate va. 

Ke nya va navo gbi nya yeya. 

Bia lo nya va. 

Bi nya va 

Bi be yo va? Ngi be bia va. 

Ke i ya dogboi hu nduwi va. 

Hani ji i kpekpeni hani gbi 

va. 
Ji nyandengo bo va? 
Ye, ngi wala bi va. 



We are going for food. 
This cartridge is for birds. 
They disliked him because he 

was a rich person. 
And as for me I have no 

money. 
You belong to me. 
You are not here for me. 
For whom are you here? I 

am here for you. 
And he went into the bush to 

clear a farm. 
This thing is good for nothing. 

Is this good for anything 1 
He said I was to bring it for 
you. 



Pu kaha mahu. 
Nda table mahu. 



Mahuy upon. 



Put it on the box. 

Put it above the table, i, e. on 

something on the table (on 

the table is ma). 



Lo ngi gulo. 
Ta p5 gulo. 
Li bi hei ngi gulo. 
Ta ngi gulo. 



Gulo, before. 



Stand in front of him. 
He is in front of the house. 
Go sit down in the way for him. 
It is in front of him. 



Tenga, along with, towards. 



B6 yepe nya lenga ? 
Moremo a ti lenga. 



Will you not talk with me 1 
Some of them were More men. 



Kpa ngi yama. 



Yama, ngama, before. 

Count it in front of him. 



118 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Lcbbuy before. 



Ta (lo) pe labu. 
Gul4 ngi labu. 



It is in front of the house, i,e, 

just at the door. 
Throw it down in front of him. 



Imwo, tuwo, lugOf tugo, before. 



Ti tenga ta jia ngi lugo, ipe- 

keisia ngi woma. 
Ta p6 lugo. 
Pu ngi lugo. 



Some walk in front of him, 

some behind. 
He is in front of the house. 
Put it before him. 



Woma, behind. 



Ta njei woma. 

Ta lo nya woma. 

Ku sawa woma. 

Na woma. 

Li pelei woma. 

Njiei jigande bagbia nya woma. 

A mu li njei woma. 

Numu yira p5 gohii numu yira 

lo pe woma. 
Ta pelei woma. 



He is across the water. 

He is behind me. 

After three days. 

After that. 

Go behind the house. 

Do not repeat what I say. 

Let us cross the water. 

One person is inside the house 

one is outside. 
He is outside the house. 



Ta pe yaka ma we. 



Kaka, side. 

It is somewhere round the 
house. 



Gbela, gheanga, near. 
Ba lo gblngombui gVra. 



Ba pu gbVa. 

A mu jia njei gbeanga. 

Tia mu gbeanga. 

Ti la mu gbela. 

Gbo hi wa pema nya gbeanga 1 

I kpale la tei gbela. 



Do not stand too near the fire . 

Do not put it near. 

Let us walk close to the water. 

They are near us. 

They approach us. 

What are you coming to do at 

my place ? 
He laid out a farm near the 

town. 



GRAMMAR 



119 



Ngeya, with. 



Mbogbwei lo Wuseni yeya. 



Ta bi yeya. 
I ngi yeya. 



Hei nd^ndei lia. 



The cutlass is with Wuseni. 

(lit. The cutlass is in Wu- 

seni's hand.) 
It is with you. 
It is not with him. 



Lia, middle. 

Sit in the middle of the boat. 



Mha, upon. 



Te wumba, or Te bi wumba. 

Ngulu wumba. 

Ke i gbQl6 gbia wumba. 

Ti punga ngi wumba. 



Raise it on your head. 

On the tree-top. 

And he took oft his hat from 

his head. 
They put it on his head. 



Bi bQr6 w6 bumba ( = bi wumba). Put on your hat. 

Ya or nga, upon. 

Pu ngombui ya. 

Hele foil ya. 

Nguli ya. 

Kowi pu koli ya. 

I ya kpoyei ya. 

Ke i bumbui welenga nga. 

Ngelewo i wa kale ya. 

Ke i mbombui gbia kale ya. 



Put it on the fire. 

Hang it in the sun. 

On the tree. 

Put wood in the fireplace. 

It has gone over the sea. 

And he set the fish-trap on top. 

At daybreak he came to the 

fish-weir. 
And he took the trap off the 

weir. 



Mhuy under. 

Ps bu. Indoors. 

I gbia pebu. He comes out of the house. 

Yo na mbu ? "Who is under that % 

Li bi pebu gbe. Go look inside the house. 

Gi ya pebu. I go home. 

Huy in, inside. 

Note. — Eu is used as an aflBx to emphasize nouns which are 
material objects. It is attached to the indefinite form, as nja^ 



120 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



njdhu, water ; but njei hu, in the water, 
but tei hu, in the town. 



Ta, taku, the town ; 



Nya guri ha. 

I hitia nguli htl. 

Pili njei hu. 

Pu njei hu. 

K0I6 ji pu kana hu. 

Ta nji hu. 

Mu de ngiyeihu. 

A mu li tei hu. 

Gbeva bi lembi hu ? 

£i li milo lo fele ji hu gi bi 

loni? 
Njei lo pele hu. 
I de ngeleya nguli hu. 
Foil ji hii. 

Ba gbia fofu (or fof ui) hu. 
Wa pe gohu. 



I am in the tree. 

He came down the tree. 

Throw it into the water. 

Put it in the water. 

Put this paper in the box. 

He is asleep. 

Let us cross the hill. 

Let us return home, or Go into 

the town. 
Why are you late ? 
Where have you been these 

last two days! 
The road is under water. 
He climbs the tree. 
To-day. 

Do not expose it. 
Come inside the house. 



FROM, OUT, WITHOUT, ABOUT. 

There are no separate prepositions iovfrom^ out, without and 
other similar words which have a sort of negative sense. 
They are expressed by words signifying positive position 
coupled with a verb of motion from. 

Examples of From, 



Bi na kpia ngi yeya. 
Bi na bumbu ngi yeya. 
Nga nyahei gbia lo bi yeya. 

I nya yahumanga (to steal is 

humd). 
Sumba geya ( = ngi yeya). 
Ho ngeya. 
I hij^a ndgma 



Take that from him. 

Ditto. 

I will take the woman away 

from you. 
He stole from me. 

Snatch it from him. 

Ditto. 

He got up from the ground. 



Out. 



I gbiai lo pebu. 
Gbia ndendel hu. 



He has gone out of the house. 
Get out of the boat. 



GRAMMAR 



121 



Ta pelei woma. 
I gbia dogboi hii. 
I nye gbia njei hu. 



Bere gbi ngi ma. 



He is outside the house. 
He came out of the bush. 
He pulled the fish out of the 
water. 

Without, 

Without trousers. 



De nya ma kina ti ye ha jiani. 
Wu ye ha jiani 1 

Huge angg panda. 

Ndapi ti koni nda loni gbo ma 1 

Ndapi nda hije gbo ma ? 

Gbo wani a ndapi 1 

Njiei na lo navo va. 



About, 



Tell me about their palaver. 
What was the discussion about 

to-day 1 ' 
Tell me all about it. 
What did you fight about 1 
What did the fight arise about? 
Ditto. 
The affair was about money. 



CHAPTER IX 

CONJUNCTIONS 

Conjunctions in the Mende language are few in number. 
A sequence of short direct sentences is made use of, each 
preceded by * Ke, and ' ; or, if the subject is getting out of 
control, * tamia, also, further ' is put in to keep up the 
connection. Disjunctive conjunctions proper do not exist. 
The contrast of a positive sentence with a following negative 
sentence, or vice versd, either with or without the assistance of 
a conjunctive conjunction, supplies the necessary distinction. 

Some of the words in the following list of conjunctions 
might equally well be treated as adverbs. 

Ta, and ; only joins nouns, not sentences. 

Ke, and ; it can also be translated hut. It is, however, 

not an emphatic huty which does not occur. 
Be, even^ also, too. 
Jibe, kebe, although, 
Ina, if, supposing, 
Kina, kea, kia, when, while, like, 
Ji, when, if, 
Ko, so that, 
Ngiye, except, 
O, or, or nor. 
Tabao, neitJier, 
Tamia, also, further, 

Tlwrefm^e = Jiva, tamia, famia, fa le, ta ji, ta va. 
But, No word. See examples. 

122 



GRAMMAR 123 

And, ta, ke. 

Hindoi ta nyahei. The man and the woman. 

Ji ta ji le. It is this and this. 

Ke i ya. And he went away. 

Nyahei na ke ngi loi ti ya That woman and her child went 

doghoi hu. into the hush. 

Foil gbia ke mu ya. At sunrise we go. 

Ji ta ji ti mahe-u lo. This and this are equal. 

Pronouns joined together have a special construction, which 
see under * Pronouns.' A similar construction prevails when 
pronouns are joined with nouns. 

Ke ta ta ti ya. And he and she they went. 

Ma Wuseni mu ya. I and Wuseni we went. 
Hindei gbi hi Una, ma bia ma Wherever you go, you and I 

li na. will go together there. 

Bia wa Wuseni a li mia. You and Wuseni go there. 

Ke ta ngi kei ti gome. And he and his father met. 

Mu li ma nya ndewe. Let us go, I and my brother. 

Be, even, cUso, too, Ji be, ke be, although. 

Be never occurs as the first word in the sentence. It follows 
ji and ke, and the meaning of the combination is although. 
Be may be regarded as an adverb, but it is more convenient 
to treat it with conjunctions. It must not be confused with 
he here. 

Nya be gS bi go. I will certainly not give you 

any. 
Ndakpaloi be i pe loi koti- And the young man did not 
ma. build the house on the rock. 

Ke bawe be i gbale la. And the * maggot ' also laid out 

a farm. 
Yira be I na. Not even one is there. 

Ke be nyawo i le gbe i wa i Although ( = and indeed) he is 
ji wiri. not mine (one of my men), 

let him come and do this. 

If = ina, etc. 
If is rendered in a variety of ways. The conjunction ina 



124 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



may be employed, or a leading conditional sentence, in the 
perfect tense, etc. 



Ina ga wa lo nga nde lo bima. 
Nga ye wama ngandelobima. 
Ina nge wa nga nde lo bima. 
Foil gbiai lo ke nwonisia ti 

wa. 
Bi nduwenga lo, bS mbei me. 

Bi penga lo, ba ha lo fe. 
Ye, bia bi lini siloi yengeme, 
bg mehe nene me. 



If I come I will tell you. 

Ditto. 

If I do not come I will tell you. 

If the sun came out the birds 

would come. 
If you clear the ground you will 

not eat the food. 
If you do it you will surely die. 
He said, If you go and work for 

the spider, you will not eat 

nice food. 



Kinay kea, when, as, etc., etc. 



Kia ji na ; kia na na. 
Kia ngombu na. 
Li bi wala kia ji na. 
Kea wogba mu wai be. 

Kina i ngi vogba kasiloi i 

gbenda. 
Kea bi nya gbe gS bi go. 

Kina gba ngi wani ngi bi loi 

bg. 
Kia WQ bi nya njei gbeni 

nga bi wa lo. 

Kia na mabie mu longa. 
Kea bi ya lo. 

Kia ha wu wani migbe mia 
i lini ? 



Like this ; like that. 

Like fire. 

Go bring one like this. 

It is a long time since we came 

here. 
When it beat him the spider 

snatched the fruit. 
If you drive me away I will 

not give you any. 
Since I came I have not seen 

you here. 
Since you drove my mother 

out in former times I will 

kill you. 
Since now we see each other. 
I suppose you are going. 
How long is it since he went 1 



So that, in order that, ko, or usually only consecutive 
sentences. 

Do this so that I may know. 
Do this so that I can do 

myself. 
So that he might try him. 
Kg here means * know. ' 



Ji gbate gi ko ^ lo. 
Gbate kea gi ji we la. 

Ko i ngi gole. 



it 



GRAMMAR 125 

Therefore y ji va, fale, famia, ta ji, ta va, tamia. 
Ta ji bi hanga. Therefore you have died. 

Ta va, ye, mu lima na. Therefore he said. Let us go 

there. 
Ngi yeng6 i nyandeni ta- His work was not good, so I 
mia (or famia) ngi ngi dismissed him. 
gbeni. 

Tamia, further. 
Ngg, a nya la ge ; tamia a I said. She must not mention 
nya hinda huge a ngi wo- my name ; further, that she 
ngeisia. must not talk about my 

affairs to her relations. 
Tamia ga ye pe ] So how am I to do it % 

Except. 
Numu gbi nya loi jolo ke a Nobody shall marry my daugh- 
pe lo kotima. ter except he build a house 

on the rock. 

J^ either, nw ; either, or, tabao, o. 

Ngi ye (or yema) ji tabao gl ye I said, Neither this nor that. 
(or yema) ji. 

Ndakpaloibeipe loi kotima, The young man* neither built 
nyapoi be i ngi loko wuai his house on the rock nor 

mbei bu. did the woman put her hand 

under the rice. 

Ji fere le ng& yema. I said neither of these. 

Gl ye ji, gl ye ji. Ditto. 

O kea iji be na ? Or one like this ? 

Ji, when. 
Ji wo ngi ndea nge, ba dog- I told you before not to clear 

boi luwi. the bush. 

Ji wo bi wa bi hea be ? How long have you been sitting 

here? 

But. 
The contrast of positive and negative sentences supplies the 
equivalent. 

Ye, 6i ji wT, tamia ye, ba na He said do this, but not that 
wi. (lit. further he said, do not 

do that). 



CHAPTER X 

INTERJECTIONS 

The following are the most common — 

Oh^ suffix, added especially when calling out in a loud 
voice to add emphasis, as — A mu li-oh, let us go, 

E is also used in this sense as — Sandi-e, i, e, calling Sandi's 
name. 

0, 0; Ngewo, (?oc^. 

1^0 ! ah/ slu exclamation of surprise. 

A\ ah/ ditto. 

Ombo 1 d(m*t / ndakw6' mbo I friend, don't / an exclamation 
of warning. 

Sig, a curse = don't care. 

tJh^ (er-h6r), an exclamation of pleasure on grasping a fact. 

Hoe ? An interrogative particle, equivalent to — shall we 1 



126 



PAKT III 



VOCABULARIES 

Note. — ^The accent in the definite is on the last syllable. 

I. Furniture, Utensils, etc. 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


The English word. 




table. 


Kpakali. 


kpakali. 


arm-chair 


Hewuru. 


hewuri. 


seat, stool (lit. sit- 
wood). 


Kpuko. 


kpukoi. 


bed. 


The English word. 




pillow. 


Tenti. 


tenti. 


mosquito-net. 


Kana. 


kana. 


box, chest. 


Kpangba. 


kpangbe. 


broom. 


Ndivale. 


ndivale. 


broom or fly-brush. 


Fe 


fei. 


pot. 


Mita. 


mite. 


spoon. 


The English word. 




fork. 


Mbowa. 


mbowe. 


knife. 


Sani. 


sani. 


bottle. 


The English word. 




glaas. 


Mbola. 


mbole. 


cup. 


Peleti. 


peleti. 


plate. 


Kalu. 


kalui. 


basin. 


Mboli. 


mboli. 


ditto 


Memo. 


memo. 


looking-glass. 


Faji. 


faji. 


(brass) kettle. 


Washi = watch. 




clock. 


Kpegbe. 


kpegbe. 


comb. 


No Mende word. 


Mori word is 


FayafSnl, pen. 


No Mende word. 


^Mori word ii 
127 


I Luave, ink. 



128 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 





Parts of a pot. 




Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Fei dagbola. 


fei dagbole. 


stopper. 


Fei mbQlQ. 


fei mboli. 


neck. 


Fei koha. 


fei kohu. 


body. 


Fei togbula. 


fei togbule. 


bottom. 


Samba. 


sambe. 


broad, open basket. 


Tekpe. 


tekpe. 


closed basket. 


Kaha. 


kahei. 


basket. 


Konda. 


konde. 


mortar. 


Ngala. 


ngale. 


mat. 




II. Implements, etc. 


Mbowa. 


mbowe. » 


knife. 


Mbogba. 


mbogbwe. 


cutlass. 


Kpogbo. 


kpogbwe. 


hammer. 


Hipo. 


hipoi. 


heavy hammer. 


Kpakpa. 


— 


to hammer. 


Kpato. 


kpatoi. 


cutlass. 


Konu. 


koni. 


axe. 


Gbanya. 


gbanye. 


pincers. 


Buma. 


bume. 


gimlet. 


Kegbwi. 


kegbwi. 


awl. 


Kali. 


kali. 


hoe. 


Sowi. 


sowi. 


saw. 


Geiie. 


gene. 


saw (Not known by 
all Mendes). 


GqH. 


^^^'^' 


scissors. 


Londema. 


londeme. 


nail. 


Londema mumu. londema mumui. 


small nail. 


Ndoli. 


ndoli. 


hook. 




III. Colours — Adjectives. 


Teli. 


dedeli, telingo. 


black. 


Kole. 


gogole, golengo. 


white. 


Kpou. 


kpogbou, gboungQ. 


red, brown. 


Bulw. 


bulungo. 


blue. 


Pune. 


punengo. 


green. 


Ngahupu. 


Dgahilpungo. 


variegated. 



VOCABULARIES 



129 





IV. Metals. 




Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Kani gbolo. 


kani gboli. 


gold. 


Kani gqle. 


kani gOli. 


silver. 


Tongo bolo. 


tongoboli. 


copper. 


Tongo. 


tongoi (tongwe). 


brass. 


Kglu. 


koli. 


iron. 


Sumbu. 


sumbui. 


lead. 



V. Parts op the Body. 
Note. — In addressing any question to a Mende about the 
following, the beginner is recommended to prefix ngi, his, to 
each word. The softened form of the initial consonant must 
then be used, also the definite form. 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Ngu. 


ngui (wui). 


head. 


Tawa. 


tawe (da we). 


forehead. 


Ngama. 


ngame (yame). 


face, eye. 


Hokpa. 


hokpe. 


nose. 


La. 


lei. 


mouth. 


Ne. 


nei. 


tongue. 


La guru. 


laguri. 


Up. 


Ngongolu. 


ngongoli (yongoli). 


tooth. 


Yele-yongolu. 


yele-yongoli. 


front-teeth. 


Bato. 


batoi. 


back-teeth. 


Kpono. 


kpone (gbone). 


brain. 


Kpokpo. 


kpokpoi. 


chin. 


Ngoli. 


ngoli (woli). 


ear. 


Ngonge (?). 


ngonge (gonge). 


back of head just 
above the neck. 


Mbolo. 


mboli. 


neck in front. 


Mho gohu. 


mbo gohtii. 


throat itself. 


MbO woma. 


mho womei. 


back of the neck. 


MboU gOtu. 


mboli gQti. 


apple in the throat. 


Ngama bweka. 


ngama bwek6 (ya- 
mabweke). 


eyebrow, or eyelash. 


Kpele. 


kpele. 


beard. 


Ngundia. 


ngundiei (wundiei). 


hair of the head. 


Njombo. 


njomboi (ypmboi). 


hair of the body, 
plumage of birds. 


Ndega. 


ndege. 


hair round the 
private parts. 



130 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Kolo. 


kole (gole). 


skin. 


Ndima. 


ndimei (limei). 


chest. 


Ko. 


koi*. 


belly. 


Kohu. 


kohui (gohui) or 
koihu. 


belly. 


Gombu. 


gombui. 


lower part of the 
belly. 


Hama. 


bame. 


waist. 


Poma. 


pomei (womei). 


back. 


Kaka. 


kakei (gakei). 


side. 


Ngoto. 


ngotui. 


backsida 


Ngowo. 


ngowi. 


back below the 
waist. 


Hokpo. 


bokpoi. 


navel. 


Yovota. 


yovotei. 


testicles. 


Mbuld. 


mbule. 


penis. 


Ngoli. 


ngoli (woli). 


tail. 


Nini. 


nini. 


breasts. 


Toko. 


tokoi (lokoi). 


band, lower arm. 


Yeja loko, or yejama 


yeja lokoi. 


right hand. 


loko. 






Kowo loko, or ko- 


kowo lokoi. 


left band. 


woma loko. 






Kpaki. 


kpaki (gbaki). 


should er,upper arm. 


Kpambu. 


kpambui (bwa- 
mbui). 


arm-pit. 


Noko. 


n5koi. 


elbow. 


Lokoyuo. 


lokoyui. 


finger. 


NgeDgalu. 


ngengalui. 


finger-nail. 


Loko hina. 


loko binei. 


thumb. 


Loko vele. 


loko vele. 


palm of band. 


Kowo. 


kowe (gowe). 


foot, leg generally. 


Lowe. 


lowe. 


hip. 


Toha. 


tQbui. 


hip. 


Kpala. 


kpale. 


thigh. 


Ngombi. 


ngombi (gombi). 


knee. 


Haka. 


bakai. 


lower leg, calf. 


Gbowo. 


gbowi. 


ankle. 


Kowola. 


kQwolei. 


ankle. 


Gowoyuo. 


gowoyui. 


toe. 



VOCABULARIES 



131 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Gowo hina (short 


gowo hinei. 


big toe. 


for gowo yuo hiiiM] 


). 




Kowo digbe, or 


kowo digbi. 


heel. 


digba. 






Kaka. 


kakei (gakei yakei). 


rib. 


Ndata. 


ndate (late). 


vein or tendon. 


Gowo-woma-^ta. 


gowo-woma-late. 


tendon at back of 
ankle. 


Kale. 


kale (gale). 


bone. 


Liha gale. 


lihti gale. 


backbone. 


Nyene. 


nyene. 

YI. Diseases. 


liver. 


Kohugbia. 


kohtlgbiei. 


diarrhoea. 


Kpukpula. 


kpukpule. 


ditto. 


Sondo higbe. 


sondo higbe. 


dysentei'y. 


Legeli. 


legeli. 


ulcer. 


Kpama. 


kpame. 


sore. 


GeU. 


geli. 


sore. 


Kanya. 


kanye. 


gonorrhoea. 


Kegeri. 


kegeri. 


yaws. 


Bombo. 


bombui. 


small-pox. 


Nyenye. 


nyenye. 


chicken-pox. 


Bene. 


pene. 


ringworm. 


Noho. 


nohoi. 


craw-craw. 


Sugbu. 


sugbui. 


a wasting skin dis- 
ease. 


Kpokpolu. 


kpokpolui. 


leprosy. 


Bupu. 


pupui. 


freckles. 


Ndivo. 


ndivoi. 


small boil. 


Fehani. 


fehani. 


tumour. 


Bweli. 


bweli. 


bad boil. 


Kala. 


kale or kae. 


a boil that travels. 


Bolo. 


boll. 


a worm of any kind, 
tapeworm, guinea- 
worm. 


Kporo, kporongo (adj.). 


lame. 


Gbale (verb). 


— 


to pain. 


Bali (verb). 


— 


to vomit. 


Eale higbe. 


kale higbei. 


rheumatism. 



132 


THE MENDE LANGUAGE 


Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Nji higbe. 


nji higbei. 


sleeping sickness. 


Popole. 


popolel 


a skin disease leav- 
ing white patches 
on the (black) 
skin. 




VII. Relationships, 


Titles, etc. 


Hindo. 


hindoi. 


man. 


Tamo. 


tamoi. 


man. 


Kena or kene. 


kene. 


elderly man. 




kene! 


sir! 


Kena wova. 


kena wovei. 


old man. 


NdakpalQ. 


ndakpaloi. 


young man. 




ndakpwe 1 


young man ! Used 
by men to each 
other when no 
name is expressed 


Hini. 


hini. 


husband. 


Boilopo. 


boilOpoi. 


servant. 


Ndopg. 


ndopoi. 


boy. 


Nu dogbe. 


nu dogbe. 


young man. 


Ke. 


kei. 


father, master. 




kekel 


my father ! sir ! 




nya kei 


my father ! my mas- 
ter! 


Mba 


mbai. 


friend or companion 
of the same sex. 




mba! \ 
mbOi ! J 


r friend ! used by 




-j women to each 
[ other. 


Nyaha. 


nyahei. 


woman, wife. 


Nyapo. 


nyapui. 


girl, young woman. 




ngi nyahei. 


his wife. 




ngi nyapui. 


his concubine. 


Nyal?. 


nyaloi. 


girl as opposed to 
boy. 


Nje. 


nji. 


mother. 




Ye! 


mother! madame ! 


Mama. 


mam6. 


an elder person of 
either sex. 



VOCABULARIES 



133 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 




maiu6! 


mother 1 A title of 
any old woman. 




mam6 na. 


that old woman. 




mama wovei. 


the old woman. 




mama! 


mamma. Used by 
an infant to its 
mother. 


Kpawo. 


kpawOi. 


widow. 


Njamo. 


njamoi. 
njamo ! 


friend. Used by 
men or women. 


Ndiamo. 


ndiamoi. 


> friend. 


Kombi. 


kombi (same as 




ndiamoi). 


1 




nya njamoi. 


my friend. 


L5mo. 


Igmoi. 


natural father. 




pappa. 


what an infant calls 
its father. 


Ke. 


kei. 


not necessarily the 
natural father — 
rather master. 




keisia. 


ancestors. 


Ndewe, nde. 


ngi ndiwi, or ngi 
ndl. 


his brother. 




ngi nde wai. 


his big brother. 




ngi nde wuli, or wu'i. 


his little brother. 


Nde nyalo. 


nde nyaloi. 


sister. 




ngi nde nyaloi. 


his sister. 


IJJ. 


loi. 


son, daughter. 


Nji wulo. 


nji wulT. 


aunt. 


Kenya. 


kenye. 


uncle. 


Mama. 


mama. 


grandfather or 
grandmother. 


Mbela. 


mbile (mbiri). 


brother-in-law or 
father-in-law. 


Njimo. 


njimoi. 


mother-in-law 




ngi yemoi. 


his mother-in-law. 




ndengesia. 


children, also fol- 
lowers. 


Maha. 


mahei. 


chief. 



134 



THE MENDE tANGUAGE 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Sama. 


same. 


wealthy person or 
distinguished 
person. 


Felanga. 


felangesia. 


twins. 


Mba wa. 


mba wai. 


elder brother or 




• 


senior ; applied 
to things also. 


Kpia lo. 


kpia loi. 


first-born. 


Jia lo. 


jia loi. 


a child that can 
just walk. 


PgndO. 


pOndpi. 


orphan. 




VIII. Seasons, Times, ; 


ETC. 


Hawa. 


hawa. 


hour. 


Ku. 


kui. 


day. 


Lo. 


loL 


day. 


Folo. 


foil. 


day or sun. 


Ngalu, ngau. 


ngalui, yalui'. 


month. 


FO. 


fOi. 

(No word for week.) 


year 


Hama. 


bame. 


wet season. 


Ngovo. 


ngovoi (ngSvo). 


dry season. 


KpSle. 


kp6lei. 


season. 


Kp5. 


kpei. 


season. 


Kpelema. 


kpelemei. 


time. 




ngelSwo, ngewo, 


at daybreak. 




ngewa. 




Ngenda vqIQ. 


ngenda vqIi. 


morning sun. 


Ngenda. 


ngende. 


morning. 




foil gbia. 


at sunrise. 


(Folo hijengoi. 


, the risen sun, but this is apparently not 




used as a mark of time 


'•) 


Folo ngundia. 


fplO ngundiei. 


noon. 


Kpoko vols. 


kpoko voli. 
kpoko vo'i. 


afternoon and 




evening. 




foil gula. 


at sunset. 


Kpindi. 


kpindi. 


night. 


Kpindi lia. 


kpindi liei. 


midnight. 



VOCABULARIES 



135 



Months, 



Definite. 




English (roughly). 


Pegbe. 




January. 


Vui. 




February. 


Nyaha wgli. 




March. 


Burui. 




April. 


Goli. 




May. 


Cheje. 




June. 


Nanoi. 




July. 


Dawi. 




August. 


Sai. 




September. 


Galui. 




October. 


Lubuyalui (pron. 


almost lu- 


November. 


hwude). 






Pondoi. 




December. 




Rice Seasons. 


Po kpwele. 




Bush cutting time. 


Moto kpwele. 




Burning time. 


Duwe kpwele. 




Clearing time for small bush. 


Dokwaiambwehu. 




Clearing time for bigger bush, 
(lit. Big clearing in the rice.) 


Mbawu kpwele. 




Kice planting time. 


Wugbia kpwele. 




Weeding time. 


Mbale kpwele. 




Rice cutting time. 


Kova kpwele. 




Slack or fallow time. 




IX. House, and its Parts. 


Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


P5l6, wgle, p5, w6. 


p6lei, w6lei. house. 


Kongo. 


kunggi. 


annex, outhouse, 
room. 


KundO. 


kunde. 


corner, recess. 


Kund^hu. 


kund6hii. 


corner, recess for a 
bed. 


Sokuihu. 


sokuihQ. 


corner, etc. Some- 
times used for 
kundehu. 


P5l5 la, or p5l5 nda. pele ndei, 


doorway. 


Nete. 


nete. 


door itself. 


Ndaoma. 


ndaome. 


window. 



136 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Indefinite. 




Definite. 




English. 


Ps yaseha 


(pp. 


p6 yasehil. 




verandah. 


pidsihu). 










Pe gohu. 




pe goha. 




the inside of the 
house. 


Kulahu. 




kulahu. 




ridge-beam. 


Ndia wulu. 




ndia wuli. 




ditto. 


Kpekpahu. 




kpekpahu. 




ditto. 


Dingbo. 




dingboi. 




long posts of a 
house. 


Pojunge. 




pQJunge. 




rafter. 


Nde kpenge. 




ndekpenge. 




cross-beam. 


Sema. 




seme, 
keni. 




bamboo. Used in 


Keni. 






construction. 


Konu. 




koni. 




*nduvu' palm 
branch used in 
construction. 


Njasa. 




njase, yase. 




thatch, generally. 


T?wa. 




towe. 




side posts, whether 
forked or not. 


NdQmS. 




ndome. 




floor. 


Ndowa. 




ndowe. 




hole. 


Pewumba. 
Pewunga. 




pewumba. ^ 
pewunga. j 




house-top. 


Kata. 




kate. 




fence. 


Kat6hu. 




katehu. 




garden, compound. 


Kat6 la. 




kat6 lei. 




gate. 


Ngor6 la. 




ngor6 lei. 




ditto. 


Ngitiya. 


Outside. 




P6 woma. 




Behind the house. 


P5 bii. 




Indooi*s. 




Ta p5 lugo. 






is in front of the house. 


Ta p6 labu. 






is at the door. 


Ta p6 tawe. 






is just beyond the doorway. 


Ta p6 gulo. 






is in front of the house. 


Ta pe lamei. 






is just 


inside the entrance. 




X. Games, Dances, 


Music, 


ETC. 


DqU. 


doll. 


dance, play. 


Dolimo. 


dolimoi. dancer. 





VOCABULARIES 



137 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 




ngeya loli. 


a skipping dance. 




kogba loli. 


somersault. 




mbembe l5li. 


two persons swinging round 
on a rope until one falls. 




kpala loli. 


a dance on stilts in costume. 




sohina loli. 


a dance with a string tied to 
the big toe. 




wundai. 


a dance round the fire. 




jeke loli. 


dance with rattles. 




kosi loli, or 


a conjuring play. 




ndoso loli 






ko loli 


war dance. 




kangbumbu loli 


a play of cutting wood and 
narrowly escaping cutting 
the hand. 


Sangba. 


sangbai. 


drum. 


Segbula. 


segbule. 


a rattle made of a calabash 
with beads. 


Mbiri. 


mbiri. 


a big drum. 


Fanga. 


fange. 


drum with strings on the 
side to press on. 


Bulu. 


bului. 


trumpet. 


Mbaka. 


mbake. 


music; any stringed instru- 
ment. 


Ba. 


bai. 


a musical instrument with 
notes which are tapped. 


Ndapi. 


ndapi. 


wrestling. 


Ngule. 


ngule. 


song, or to sing. 


Tggoko. 


tSgokoi. 


board for playing the game 
of t% a game played with 
pebbles on a board of a 
dozen holes. 




XI. Trees, ] 


Plants, etc. 




General, 


Nguru. 


ngurl. 


tree. 


Kpiti. 


kpiti. 


plant, weed, grass. 


Kowu. 


kowT. 


wood, fallen tree. 


Nguru bowa. 


nguru b5we. 


flower. 


Nda, la. ' 


lai. 


leaf. 



138 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Tifa. 


tife. 


leaf, twig. 


Kale. 


kale. 


seed. 


Mbeke. 


mbeke. 


branch. 




Grasses and Grains. 


Foni. 


fom. 


grass. 


Yani. 


yam. 


a spreading grass. 


Ngara. 


ngare. 


a very tall coarse grass. 


Pot6. 


pots. 


a grass the seeds of which 
are eaten. 


Nyo. 


nyoi (newee). 


maize. 


Nyoko. 


nyokoi. 


sugar-cane. 


Gbelinyo. 


gbSlinyoi. 


millet. 


Keti. 


keti. 


guinea-corn. 


Mba. 


mbei 


rice. 




Descriptions of Rice, 


Kokovaia. 


kokovaia, or 


slow growth; several heads 




kokovaiye. 


to one stalk; grows any- 
where. 


Bongo. 


bongoe. 


short thick grain; planted 
in mud. 


Manika. 


manikei. 


long grain. 


Jobo. 


joboi. 


long grain, sweet flavour. 


(]) Vubata. 


vubatei. \ 
bagibei.J 


the same rice, plentiful grain 


(1) Bagiba. 


in ears. 


Sangenya. 


sanganya. 


ripens slowly. 


Wuja wuru. 


wuja wuri. 


small grain, black, grows 
quickly. 


Pava. 


pave. 


tasteless, grows slowly. 


Fase. 


fase. 


ditto. 


Sandi. 


sandi. 


ditto. 


Tapu bongo. 


tupu bongoi. 


striped. 


Gorofeli. 


gorofeli. 


long haired. 


Gete. 


gete. 


short grained. 


Peude. 


pende. 


early rice, short. 


Pendege. 


pendege. 


ditto. 


Yake. 


yake.\ 
gobe. J 


American rice, grows in 


Gobe. 


water. 


Yele. 


yele. 


requires cutting quickly after 
ripening. 


Mbawu. 


mbawuT. 


ear of rice. 



VOCABULARIES 



139 



Palms, 



Inde6nite. 


Definite. English. 


Tokpo. 


tokpoi. 


oil palm. 


Kewe. 


kewe. 


fan palm. 


Nduvu. 


nduvul. 


rafia vinifera. 


Keri. 


keri. 


sharp-leafed palm ; grows on 
edge of brackish water; 
used for making mats. 
Neither are pure Mende 


Madrd. 


madrd.. 


words. 


Sema (?), dUo 


seme, or semi. bamboo. 


semi. 






Keni. 


keni. 


ditto. 


Kavu. 


kavui. 


palm with very slender leaves 
and stem. 


Pamba. 


pambe. 


screw palm. 


Kpura. 


cpur6, kpurai. rattan. 


Ngavu. 


ngavui. 


inferior date palm. 


Pulolu, or pu- 


puloll. 


cocoanut palm. 


dolu. 








Products of Pahns. 


Towu. 


towl. 


oil palm nut. 


Tewu. 


tewi. 


■ ditto. 


Kale. 


gale. 


kernel. 


Kaje. 


kaje. 


piassaba — fibre of the nduvu. 


Kenji. 


kenji. 


seed of the nduvu. 


Nini, or nini- 


nini, or 


ninihe. flower of the oil palm. 


ha. 






Tokpo lo. 


tokpo loi. palm wine. 


Ngulo gbou. 


ngulo gboui. palm oil. 


Konu. 


koni. 


branch of the nduvu. 


Dangulo. 


dangule 


palm kernel oil. 
Foods. 


Mana. 


mane. 


plantain. 


Sele. 


sele. 


banana. 


Saro. 


saroi. 


orange. 


Dumbele. 


dumbele 


J. lime, or orange. 


Dumbele nye- 


dumbele 


nyenye. lime. 


nya 






Fakali. 


fakali. 


pawpaw. 



140 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Nesi. 


nesL 


pineapple. 


Belu. 


belui. 


pineapple (not so much used). 


Bondo. 


bond©. 


okro. 


Kojo. 


koji. 


garden egg. 


Gbola. 


gbolo. 


garden egg^ different variety. 


Tola. 


tole. 


bean. 


Towa. 


towe. 


pumpkin. 


Puje. 


piije. 


pepper. 


Tolo. 


toll. 


kola. . 


Ngengele. 


ngengele. 


crincre. 


Yawa. 


, yawe. 


onion. 


Ngawu. 


ngawl. 


yam. 


Mbole. 


mbole. 


yam. 


NjowT. 


njowi. 


sweet potato, or any potato. 


Tanga. 


tango. 


cassada. 


Nikili. 


nikili. 


ground nut. 
Trees. 


Tingo. 


tingi. 


mangrove. 


Nja wulu. 


nja wuli. 


soap tree, or sea apple. 


Hege gulu. 


bege gull. 


ditto. 


Yowulu. 


yowuli. 


ditto. 


Kata wulu. 


kata wuli. 


tree used for hedges. Sierra 
Leone English, * pig nuts.' 


Nguwo. 


nguwe. 


silk cotton tree. 


Bo wulu. 


bo wulT. 


baobab. 


Hondo. 


hendoi, or hende. a red hardwood tree. 


Tijo. 


tijoi. 


a hardwood tree with fibrous 
bark. 


Mbole. 


mbele. 


a hardwood tree with but- 
tresses. 


Soma. 


seme. 


a big forest tree. 


Kpato. 


kpatoi. 


1 a kind of wild walnut. 


Mambo. 


mambui. 
timipofoi. 


a tree with soft nuts with 


Timipofo. 


velvety shell; edible. 


Gboji. 


gbojI. 


a tree with a yellow plum-like 
fruit with pleasant taste. 


Boni. 


boni. 


a sap tree with large fleshy 
leaves. The juice is said 
to cure toothache. 



VOCABULARIES 



141 



Indefinite, 
y ogbti yambe. 

Bondo. 



Guava. 



Definite, 
yogbu yambe. 

bonde. 



guava. 



English. 

a tree with red fruit size of 
an apple, rough skin, red 
inside. 

tree with flowers like apple 
blossom. The red seeds 
from pods, which grow in 
clusters, make an orange 
dye. 

guava. 







Rubbers, 


Bobo. 


boboe. 


funtumia. 


Kobo. 


koboe. 


a rubber tree. 


Jenje. 


jenje. 


a rubber vine. 


(jomo. 


gomoe. 


a rubber tree, also another 
tree from which gum 
exudes. 


Jiawa. 


jiawai. 


a rubber tree inferior to 
boboe ; 1 the kickxia. 


Hole. 


hole. 


a tree with a juice used for 
catching birds. 




FlcmtSf Flowers, etc. 


Tawa. 


tawe. 


tobacco. 


Tawa vuka. 


tawa vuke, 
tavuke. 


, or snuff. 


Vonde. 


vonde. 


a plant used for tobacco ; the 
juice is drawn up into the 
nostrils for snuff. 


Manga. 


mange. 


a parasitic plant on fan 
palms; has sharp cones 
at base. 


Dawu. 


dawuL 


a vine; the leaves crushed 
put into a pool kill the fish. 


Kama. 


kame. 


a plant with coarse leaves 
which are used for sand- 


Fale. 


fale. 


paper, 
mushroom, or fungus. 


P5ni. 


p6nl. 


a plant for making baskets ; 
the red pod at Uie root is 
eaten. 



142 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Indefinite. 


Definite. finglish. 


Kpiiia. 


kpiile. 


a large gourd. 


Fore. 


fore. 


canna lily. 


Nengbe. 


nengbe. 


a water lily with long leaves. 


Pupende. 


pupeDde. 


a water lily with round 

leaves, 
a shrub with small red seeds 


Nyomba (?) 


nyombe. 






having black heads. 


Njowe. 


njowl. 


a large poisonous bean. 


Fande wulu. 


fand6 wuli. the cotton plant. 


Mbalu. 


mbalui. 


a creeper used to make a loop 
to climb palm trees. 

XII. Animals. 


Hua. 


btiei. 


animal. 


Ndopa. 


ndope. 


antelope, or deer. 


Nika. 


nike. 


cow (generally). 


Nika ha. 


nika hei. 


cow. 


Nika bine. 


nika hinei. bull. 


Mbala. 


mbale. 


sheep. 


Nje. 


njei. 


goat. 


Ndonde. 


ndOnde. 


pig- 


Koli. 


koli. 


leopard. 


KOwi. 


kOwi. 


1 jackal. 


Nguahl. 


nguahf. 


a small animal that eats roots ; 
same size guinea-pig. 


PekulD. 


pekuli. 


small animal with a sharp 
nose and mouth set under- 
neath. 


Kewulo. 


kewulL ' 


different dialectic names for 
same kind of animal, a 
big spotted bush cat, hair 
rather than fur, loose ridge 


Kowulo. 


kownli. 


of skin down its back. 


Subu. 


subui*. 


hyaena. . 


Njala. 


njale. 


lion. 


Kaikulo. 


kaikuli. 


a ground squirrel. 


Ndandakulo. 


ndandaki 


ill. % mongoose. 


Pewi. 


pewi. 


bush cat, long tail ; paradoxus. 


Nyamgbe. 


nyamgbe 


bush cat, soft fur, spotted. 


Gone. 


gone. 


cat. 



VOCABULARIES 



143 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Lolo. 


loll. 


cat. 


Kanye. 


kanye. 


ant-eater. 


T6wa wulo. 


tgwa wuli. 


bush goat; ] gazelle, very 
small horns. 


Ngoto. 


ngotl. 


water-buck. 


Heke. 


heke. 


bush cow. 


Tewu. 


tewi. 


bush cow, a buffalo. 


Nguli. 


nguli. 


1 hartebeest. 


Hagbewulo. 


hagbewuli. 


small brown animal. 


Hagbe. 


hagbei. 


ditto ; ] weasel. 


Ngila. 


ngile. 


dog. 


Nyine. 


nyine. 


rat. 


KiwulO. 


kiwuli. 


ground pig. 


KuwulD. 


kuwuli. 


ditto. 


Fologbete. 


fOlOgbete. 


striped rat. 


Lend6. 


lende. 


mouse. 


Piwi. 


piwi. 


porcupine. 


Sewulo. 


se Willi. 


guinea-pig. 


Sese. 


sesei. 


a squirrel. 


Bovi. 


bovi. 


something like a sese, but 
larger. 


Seje. 


sejei. 


small animal with quills on 
its tail like a porcupine. 


Dava. 


dave. 


bat, small. 


Taja. 


taje. 


bat, medium. 


Toka. 


toke. 


bat, large. 


Bamo. 


bamOi. 


baboon. 


Gbulo. 


gbuli. 


a tree bear ; calls at night as 
it climbs a tree. 


Kwa. 


kwai. 


monkey. 


Towa. 


tOwe. 


big black monkey, long tail. 


Dogbo yusu. 


dogbo yusui. 


chimpanzee; regarded as a 
half-man. 


K6nj5. 


k5nj6. 


gorilla. 


Hele. 


hele. 


elephant. 


Njahele. 


njahele. 


hippopotamus. 




XIIL 


Birds. 


Kowo. 


kowe. 


a large black and white eagle. 


Kokogbia. 


kokogbie. 


a brown eagle. 



U4 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Bombo. 


bomboi. 


same as kokogbie. Different 
dialect. 


Gere. 


geri. \ 
kuanje. / 


brown fish hawk. Different 


Kuanja. 


names. 


Hewe. 


hewe. 


same as geri. 


Dogbo gere. 


dogbo geri. 


bush geri. Larger than 
geri. Similar appearance. 
Lives in the bush. 


Sekpende. 


sekpende. 


grey hawk. 


Sekulo. 


sekuli. 


small speckled hawk. Chases 
smal 1 birds. Sits on a tree 
very upright. 


Yiba. 


yibe. 


vulture. 


Jiba. 


jibe. 


same as yihe. Different dia- 
lect. 


Goma. 


gome. 


black and white crow. 


Powo. 


powi or pOwe. 


big brown dove. General 
name given to any dove 
or pigeon. 


Bomokulo. 


bomokulg. 


small brown ground dove. 


Povovo. 


povovui. 


green pigeon. 


H5k6.' 


hokSi. 


guinea-fowl. 


Kokoye. 


kokoye. 


bush-fowl. 


Sasalo. 


sasaloi. 


red-legged partridge. 


Fok(u)lo. 


fok(u)loi. 


small brown partridge the 
size of a quail. 


Kokolowe; lalso 


kokolowe. 


like the sdscUoi. Calls at 


kowedowe. 




night. 


Gowa. 


g9wai. 


clock-bird. Green. Crested. 


Piangbia. 


piangbie. 


hornbill. Black mostly. All 

feathers. 
1 toucan. A reputed two- 


Gula. 


gule. 






headed bird from a growth 






on top of its head. Size 






of a crow. Black, with 






long tail. 


Ndulu. 


nduli. 


brown bird with white breast 
and mournful cry. Said 
to kill snakes. Size of a 
grey parrot. 



VOCABULARIES 



145 



Indefinite. 
Bovonwoni. 
Goronwoni. 


Definite. 
. bovonwoni. 
goronwoni. 


Mbakii. 


mbakui. 


Sele. 


seleL 


Dea. 


deai. 


Ndabo. 


ndabQi. 


Sokulimanja. 


soknlimanje. 


Pangbambalu. 


pangbambalui 


Kpa-ndSvg, or 

bad6v6. 
Jeme. 


kpa-ndgvg, or 

badeve. 
jeme. 



Membo. 



Epopomanja. 

Dogbobaku. 

Sokele. 



Yegbe. 



Jowi, or Yowl. 
Gbegbe. 
Fabo. 
Fawugbekpe. 

Kakibo. 

Sanga. 



membui. 

kpopomanje. 
dogbobakui. 
sokele. 

yegbe. 

jowi, or yowi. 
gbegbl. 
fabui. 
fawugbekpei. 

kakiboi. 

sange. 



English. 
small yellow bird, 
blackbird larger than a 

sparrow. Live in parties, 
weaver-bird. Black with red. 

Size of a sparrow, 
weaver-bird. Blueandgreen. 

Size of a sparrow, 
weaver-bird. Like mhaku in 

appearance, 
a small bird that weaves a 

nest in the grass, 
black and white bird. Male 

has a tail nearly a foot 

long. Smaller than a 

sparrow, 
black bird with yellow slash. 

Size of a sparrow. 

swallow. 

greenish bird with long 

curved beak. Smaller 

than a sparrow, 
brown bird with red breast 

and neck. Smaller than a 

sparrow, 
woodpecker, 
canary, 
tiny bird. Many live 

together. 
% night-jar. Mottled brown 

bird. Size of a pigeon. 

Flies at dusk. Different 

dialects, 
parrot, 
ditto. 

grey parrot. The combina- 
tion seems dialectic, 
greenish bird. Size of a 

sparrow, 
kingfisher. Many coloured. 



146 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


Kakibo. 


kakiboi. 


T6 


tei. 


T6 hina. 


te hine. 


Tsha. 


t6 hei. 


TslQ. 


teloi. 


Dowi. 


dgwi. 


Tolotolo. 


tolotoloi. 


Tolongenge. 


tolongeng^. 


Mbti. 


mbui. 


Y6vo. 


yovui. 



Kegewe. 
Tutu. 

KiDgi. 
Hoho 



Kekele. 
Jakoku. 

NyagbesuH. 

Solowa. 

Yonembe. 



kegewe. 
tutui. 

kingi. 
hohoi . 



kekele. 
jakokui. 

nyagbesuli. 

solowai. 

yonembe. 



EDglish. 

kingfisher. « Some black and 
white; some all colours 
rainbow. 

fowl. 

cock. 

hen. 

chicken. 

duck. 

turkey. 

water-wagtail. 

owl. 

pepper-bird. A bird some- 
thing like a sparrow, but 
larger. Eats peppers. 

witch-bird. As big as a 
parrot. Calls at evening. 
Children are said to be 
changed into it. 

small wading bird. Body 
brown; throat white ; beak 
f in. and bluish; blue 
patch on top of head ; legs 

. grey. 

grey wading bird. Same size 
as tutui. Beak yellow 
with black on top. 

? cormorant. Body like a 
duck's. Breast white with 
thick plumage; back green- 
ish; throat brown; feet 
webbed and bla,ck; beak 
short, hooked, yellow, with 
black end. Size big pigeon. 
Also the black cormorant. 

snippet. 

grey water-bird. Larger 
than a pigeon. 

small greyish-green heron. 

Ditto. Different dialect. 

egret. Body white, beak 
yellow. 



VOCABULARIES 



U7 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Banl. 


banl. 


white wading bird. Smaller 
than yQnemhe, 


Tevenwoni. 


tevenwoni. 


big black wading bird. Four 
feet wing to wing. Long 
beak black with red; white 
neck ; black legs. 




XIV. Keptiles, 


Fish, etc. 


Nye. 


nye. 


fish. 


Kali. 


kali. 


snake. 


Ndili. 


ndili. 


python. 


Tupu. 


tupui. 


puff-adder ; ? cerastes. 


Ndovopole. 


ndovopole. 


small fat snake, a foot long. 
Poisonous, but not deadly. 


Kenji gorQ. 


kenji gori. 


tree-snake ; thin ; 3 to 4 ft. 
Brown stripe along it. 


Ndawundo kali 


ndawundo kali. 


green snake. 


Nguru. 


ngurui. 


black snake. 


Ndamba. 


ndambe. 


crocodile. 


Pama. 


pame. 


iguana. 


Kolo. 


koll. 


red-headed lizard. 


Kpeni. 


kpeni. 


speckled lizard. 


Kogo-nje. 


kogo-njei. 


slow-worm. Said to have a 
bead at each end, owing 
to its tail being the same 
shape as its head. 


Ndokulo. 


ndokule. 


chamdeon. 


Ngaku. 


ngakui. 


crab. 


Ndovo. 


ndovoi. 


toad. 


Jibele. 


jibele. 


bull-frog. 


Kpwegbi. 


kpwegbi. 


croaking frog. 


Gbasonde. 


gbasonde. 


green tree frog. 


Banasowe. 


banasowe. 


flesh-coloured climbing frog. 


Kondo. 


kondui. 


small fish found in man- 
grove swamps. Jumps, 
and climbs trees. Swims 
with its head out of water. 


Haku. 


hakwe. 


turtle. 


Nwoniga. 


nwonigei. 


oyster, or rather oyster-shell. 


Bonge. 


bonge. 


a fish ; ? herring. 


Poll. 


poll. 


same as honge. 



148 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Indefinite. Definite. English. 

Kenje kenje fresh water flying-fish. 

Tumu. tumui. shark. 



XV. Insects. 



Fuhani. 

Fo. 

Fundi. 

Fufu. 

Komi. 

Higbo. 

Dombe. 

Bewe. 

Silo. 

Kogonde. 
Fapapoli. 
Kiiubo. 

Kondo. 

Petu. 

Kongowetu. 

Kpekpe. 

Kpekpeli. 

Nya. 

Jika 

Kpindiyia. 

Fuvulu. 

Kdondo. 

Kalondo. 

Kekeme. 

KOlo. 

Kowo, kowOnga. 

Gili. 

Pupu 

FalO. 



Fuhani. 

Foi. 

Fundi. 

f uf uljOr f uf uiha. 

komi. 

higboi. 

dombe. 



bewe. 

siloi. 
kogonde. 
papapoli. 
kimboi. 

kondui. 

petui. 

kongowetui. 

kpekpei. 

kpekpeli. 

nyai. 

jike. 

kpindiyiei. 

fuvului. 

ndondui. 

kalondoi. 

kekeme. 

kQli. 

k5wlsia. 

gili. 

pupui,pupuisia. 
fale, falesia. 



insect generally. 

big biting fly. 

mosquito. 

moth. 

bee. 

a wasp of sorts. Makes a 

white hanging comb, 
wasp that digs a hole in 

the ground, 
a bright-coloured beetle that 

digs a hole in the ground, 
spider, 
butterfly, 
grasshopper, 
a big cricket. Roasted and 

eaten, 
locust — destructive kind, 
grasshopper ; ? cricket, 
grey striped locust — not 

hurtful, 
cockroach, 
caterpillar, 
tick, 
jigger, 
cicada, 
wood-borer, 
millipede, 
centipede, 
scorpion, 
snail, 
driving ants. Anta usually 

in plural, 
white ant. 

small ant — a general term, 
red ant ; makes its nest in 

leaves. Very painful sting. 



VOCABULARIES 



149 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Kpaina. 


kpaine. 


stink ant. 


Leleme. 


leleme. t 


green mantis. 


Divovo. 


divovoi. 


fly that bores a hole in trees 
and bites. 


JokQndi. 


jokondi. 


tarantula. 


Bulo. 


bull. 


any worm. 


Daninye. 


daninye. 


a crawliug insect that bores 
a horizontal hole below 
the surface and bites. 


Gondo fofo. 


gondo fofoe. 


horned beetle in the pambe 
palm. 


Mbawe. 


mbawe. 


big white grub in oil palms. 


Ndi {vsually pi. 


ndiQgesia. 


flies. 


ndinga). 






Bowi vofo. 


bowl vofoi. 


beetle that rolls a ball of 
dung. 




XVI. Stars, etc. 


Folo. 


fgll. 


sun. 


Ngalu. 


ngalui. 


moon. 


Dumbeka. 


dumbeke. 


star. 


■ — 


Konungui. 


Orion. 


— 


Ndeloi. 


Southern Cross. 


— 


Sokoleguli. 


Pleiades. 


— 


Tonyahei 


Venus, (lit. Jealous woman.) 




XVII. Spiritual Terms. 


Ngewo. 


ngewoi. 


God. 


Haniwa, or 


haniwai, or 


a devil, sprite. 


Hawa. 


hawai, or 
haiwai. 




Ngafa 


ngafe (yafe). 


spirit, whether abstract or 
materialized. 


iN'gelegohu. 


— 


heaven. 


Ngelemahu 


— 


land of the living. 


Ndo. 


— 


lower world. 



Ndomo {pi, ndo- ndomoi (j>l, ndo- inhabitants of the lower 
bela). beleisia). world. 



150 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



XVII L Natural Features. 



Indefinite. 


Definite. 


English. 


Batiha 


batihtt. 


swamp. 


Kpetiha. 


kpetihil. 


swamp with running water. 


Baliha. 


bulihu. 


ground raised above the 
water. 


Bulomi. 


bulomi. 


flat ground. 


Popa. 


pop^. 


pond. 


Popawa. 


popawai. 


large lake. 


Kp6li. 


kpoli. 


river. 


Kpoli la. 


kp5li lei. 


river mouth, entrance in the 
mangroves. 


F5f9. 


fofSi. 


clearing. 


F5f5waha. 


fOfowaha. 


big clearing in the bush. 


Ngiye. 


ngiy^. 


hill. 


Ngiye gombu. 


ngiye gombui. 


valley. 


Ko. 


— 


east. 


Kpundoha. 


— 


west. 




(No words for north and south.) 


Maha. 


— 


up-country = north. 


— 


mbui. 


down-country = south. 


NjegQ. 


njegQ. 


up-stream. 


— 


nje mbui. 


down-stream. 


Kpoye. 


kpoye. 


sea. 


Njei i venda. 


it is high tide. 


Njei lo vendama. the tide 


is rising. 


Njei i bell. 


the tide 


is low. 


Njei lo belima. 


the tide 


is ebbing. 


Njei i belia kpolihQ. the water has drained out of the 




lagoon 


- 




XIX. Names. 




Mmh 


?. 


Abo. 


Awukpe. 


Bandeba. 


Abu. 


Babai. 


Bassi. 


Agidi. 


Bagoe. 


Bawumba. 


Ama. 


Baio. 


Benda. 



Bendu. 

Benga. 

Benya. 

BetcL 

Beya. 

Bindi. 

Bobo. 

Boma. 

BoDgu. 

Boni. 

Bori. 

Bovoa. 

Bowi. 

Boya. 

Bnndo. 

Daima. 

DapL 

Dimo. 

Dingi. 

Dongboi. 

Feundru. 

Fidi. 

Filika. 

Fina. 

Foli. 

Fomodia. 

Fongujia. 

Gaimo. 

Gando. 

Gapu. 

Gava. 

Gbando. 

Gegbwa. 

Gevo. 

Goba. 

Gyalonga. 

Hegwe. 
Hindolo. 



Holima. 


Lagga. 


Hunyo. 


Lahai. 




LambOi. 


Jaiya. 


Lamina. 


Jaka. 


Lasana. 


Jiba. 


Lasani. 


Jibao. 


Lavari. 


Jina. 


Lebi. 


Jobai. 


Lemu. 


Jongopi. 




Joon. 


Masenja. 


Jusu. 


Makaia. 




Mboma. 


Kabanga. 


Moivumba. 


Kaifuma. 


Mose. 


Kaikura. 


Motwa. 


Kaila. 


Mundd. 


Kaili. 




Kailundu. 

Kaitibbi. 

Kaiyenge. 

Kamanda. 

Kamoe. 


NavQ. 

Ndovi. 

Ngeba. 

Ngili. 

Numai. 


Kanboi. 
Kangwai. 


Nyagoa. 
Nyakoi. 


Kapindi. 
Kapu. 


Nyangbawula. 


Kapuje. 
Kaveota. 


Pessima. 


Kawundi. 


Pilima. 


Kiowa. 


Ponga. 


Koji. 


Povandi. 


Koka. 


Puja. 


Kole. 




Komahu. 


Samo. 


Komawa. 


Sandi. 


Komo. 


Sangawuru. 


Konga. 


Sanu. 


Kowai. 


Sao. 


Kpana. 


Sei. 


Kwesia, 


Selu. 



151 



152 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Si. 


Tiama. 


Yambasu. 


Siki. 


Tong. 


Yendewa. 


Simo. 




Yewa. 


Sina. 


Vanboi. 


Yopoi. 


Sita. 


Vandi. 


Yunga. 


Songo. 




Yungawo, 


Sukri. 


Yakwai. 





Names used by Mendes, but borrowed from Susu, Timm4if/i^ 
^ Vai, SherbrOj etc. 



Amara, S. 

Baggi, Sher. 
Bai, T. 
Bana, Sher, 
Bangali, S. 
Bili, V. 
Biya, Sher. 
Bongawutu, S. 
Leone. 



Bundukar, V. 

Fama, Sher. 
Eani, V. 
Foday, T. 

Jo, Sher. 

Kabona, S. Leone. 
Kanda, Sher. 
Kelfala, S. 



Malaki, T. 
Moiwa, V. 

Morlai, S. 

Santigi, T. 
Siafa, V. 
Sori, T. 
Soriba, T. 

Yamba, T. 



Ali. 

Bakari. 
Boima. 

Fatoma. 



Mo^*i Namss, 

Isa. 

Jibira. 

Mahmadu. 
Moriba. 



Momo. 
Musa. 

Osene (Wuseni). 
Osumana (Mana). 

Saidu. 



English namss a/re la/rgely 

Africa. Fineboy. 

Joe. 
piackie. John Bull^ 



-, such as- 

Johnny. 

Tommy, 



VOCABULARIES 



153 





Women's tiames. 




Baiye. 


Kefui. 


Mavdngiri. 


Bamania. 


Kema. 


Mawokuli. 


Bandi. 


Koinya. 


Memeniya. 


Bepui. 


Kona. 




Bendu. 


Kwala. 


Nyava. 


Beti. 


Kwandi. 


Njembe. 


Binda. 




Nyange. 


Boi. 


Lebu. 




Bondo. 


Lombe. 


Sabama. 
Sao. 


Foma. 


Mafande. 


Sita. 




Mahenda. 


Sombo. 


Gwanyia. 


Mamagula. 


Sowulu. 




Mamui. 


Suku. 


Jassa. 


Mandoro. 




Jato. 


Mangaiye. 


Talo. 


Jeromo. 


Mangundia. 


Tiama. 


Jiabo. 


Mangwe. 


Tuma. 


Jinamba. 


Manje. 




Joli. 


Marabwinde. 


Yenge. 


Ju. 


Masiye. 

Mori name, 
Hawa. 





154 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



XX. Mendb-English. 

Note. — Words marked * do not change their initial letter. 
In looking out a noun the beginner is warned to select the 
definite form unless there be any good reason to the contrary. 

Vowels have in some words been specially marked in this 
vocabulary as an aid to pronunciation, though it has not been 
considered necessary to so mark them in other parts of the 
book. 

Words not found under the hardened initial consonant may 
be found under the softened and vice versd. 



*A, prep, 
*A, adv. intei*rog, 
*A, pron, ; a 
*A, pron, 
*Abi'e, p7'on, 
*Amue, pron. 
*Ange, pron, 
*Angie, pron, 
*Atie, pron, 
*Awue, pron, 

*Ba, pron. 
*Ba, pron, 
*Ba, n., Bai. 
*Bagbango. 

Ba = mba, n.^ mbei. 

Bala = mbala, ?i., mbale. 

Bale, or Bwale = kpale, tr, & 
int7', V. 
*BalT, tr, & intr. v, 

Bande= kpande,n.,kpande. 

Bandi = kpandi, adj. & v. 

Bao = bawo, tr. v. 

Bate ^ gbate. 
*Bato, adv. ( = Ba to, you see.) 
*Baya, n, <fe tr. v., baye. 
*Be, adv. 
*Be, V, 
*Bg, pr. 



with. 

where ? 

he ; he not. 

you. 

you. 

we. 

I. 

he. 

they. 

you. 

you. 
you not. 
price, 
dear, 
rice. 



pain. 

vomit. 

gun. 

hot. 

cure. 

make. 

perhaps. 

deceit, deceive. 

also, indeed. 

you say, or saying. 

you not. 



VOCABULARIES 



155 



*Be, prep, 

B6 = mbS, tr. & intr, v. 

Bef = def.fomi of mha,, 

*B6ka = b5 yaka. 
*B6-iido, adv, 

BfikS = mbekS, n., bgkei. 
*Bela, pi, of suffix mo. 

Bela = mbSla, tr, v, 
*Beli, tr, & intr, v, 
*Beli, adj., belingo. 

Bembe, tr, v., or bimbe, mbi- 
mbe. 
*Bere, n., bSr^. 
*Bi, pron, 
*Bi, pron, 
*Bia, pron, 

Bia = kpia, tr, & intr, v, 
*Bie, pron, 
*Bie = bi ye. 

Bije = mbije = biye, w., bijef. 
*Bima, pr, 
*Binda, pr, 
*Bise, n. 
*Bo, n., boi. 

Bo = mbo, tr, v. 

Bo = mbo. 
*Boa, salutation, 

Bola = mbola, n., mbole. 

Bole = gbole, v, 

Boma = mboma, n., mbome. 

Bonda = mbonda, w., mbonde. 
*Bora, n,y bore. 

Bowa = mbowa, n., mbowe. 

Boya = mbgya, v. & w.,mboye. 

Bti = mbu, adv, k prep, 

Bu, w., bui. 
*Bua = bOa. 
*Bubu, intr. v. 

Bukpia = pugbia, tr, v, 
*Bula, bulo, n.y bub', usuMUy 

bulihu. 
*Bule, intr, v. 



here. 

dry. 

rice. 

this side. 

here. 

branch. 

people. 

split, tear. 

drain, ebb. 

skilful. 

surround, encircle 

trousers. 

you {sing.), 

you not. 

you. 

pull out, come out. 

you. 

to you. 

name. 

to you. 

yours. 

thanks. 

thing. 

dig. 

pierce, shoot. 

how do you do 1 

Deck. 

drink. 

hammock, net. 

kindred. 

hat, cap. 

knife. 

present, gift. 

under. 

lower part. 

how do you do ? 

fly. 

uproot. 

plain, open swamp. 

burst. 



156 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Bumbu : 
tr, V. 



- mbumbu = wumbu, take, lift up, take away. 



De = te = le, intr, v. ; tr, v, 
Ds = dSwS = tewe, tr, v, 
D6 = dgwS = ndewe, tr, v. 
Deli = ndeli, adj., delingo. 
Deli = teli, culj., delingo. 
Demu = temu = lemu, tr, v. 
Do = to = lo, tr. V. 
Do = to = lo, tr. & intr, v. 
Do = to, tr, V. 
Dogbe = togbe, adj. 
Dogbo = ndogbo, w., dogboi. 
*DQme, 71., domei (dommay). 
*Dom6 gbia. 
Dome = ndome, r»., dome 

(dorm^). 
Dome = ndgme = Igme, n,, 

d6m6 (doome). 
Dumbeka = lumbeke, n,, 

dumbgk^. 
Dumbele = lumbele, n.y dum- 

bel6. 
Duli = dgli = iQli, w., dull. 

*E, adv. 
*%pr, 

F change 
Fa^ prep. & conj.y usually va. 
Fakali, 71., fakali. 
Fakalewe, adj., Fakdlemoi*. 
Fala = vala, intr. v. 
*Fale, conj. 
Fale = vale, intr, v, 
Fandg, n., fand^. 
Faw6ha, n. 

Faya = vaya, tr. & intr, v, 
Fe = ve, adv, 
Fg = vg, w., fei. 



climb ; lift. 

cut, pass. 

beat. 

wet. 

black. 

beg pardon, acquit. 

see. 

stand, build. 

send. 

young. 

bush. 

story. 

tell a story. 

ground. 

shirt. 

star. 

lime, lemon. 

dance. 

yes. 
he not. 

3 into V, 

of, for, an account of. 
pawpaw tree and fruit, 
lazy, slack ; a lazy man. 
to be ready (to start), 
therefore, 
grow (of plants), 
cotton. 

flat ledge of rocks, 
scatter, spill, waste, 
completely, 
pot. 



VOCABULARIES 



157 



Fe = ve, tr, v. 


give. Object, precedes ; person 




follows with preposition *to. 


Fg, v., trans. 


fill. 


intrcms. 


swell (of the body). 


Fefe, 71., fefef. 


wind. 


*Fele, adj\f Fere. 


two. 


Fefele. 


two by two. 


Fo, <7-. V. 


reach, arrive at, pass through. 


Fo = folo, n. 


day. 


Fo, foo, w., foi 


year. 


Fo, 71., foi. 


big biting fly. 


Fofo, 71., fofOi. 


open place. 


Fofohu. 


publicly. 


Fogba, tr; v. 


whip. 


Folo, n., foil. 


day, sun. 


FOma, 7*., fom6. 


whip. 


Fombo, tr, v. 


extend, unroll. 


Foni, 71., fgnf. 


grass. 


Fonya, ^r. v. 


squeeze. 


Ftihani, 7i., fuhani. 


insect. 


Ftika, «r. i?. 


grind, pound. 


Fuko, w., fukoi. 


ring, circular pad for the head 




when carrying a load. Coast 




English, kata. 


Fula, er. V, 


hasten. 


Fula, 71., fule. 


village. 


Fulo, tr, V, 


loosen. 


Fulu ( = f u = vu), adj,f 


fulu- living. 


ngo, vungo. 




6^6 


changes into Kp, 


Ga, tr, V, = gara, kara. 


teach, learn. 


Gahu = kahu, n. 


body. 


Gaka = kaka, tr. v. 


coil up, encircle. 


Gama, adv, prep. 


towards, to. 


Gba = kpa, adj. 


different. 


*Gba, adv. 


first. 


*Gba, <r. v. 


stop. 


Gbaha, intr, v. 


be tired. 


Gbale, v. 


pain. 


'^Gbama, adv. 


to no purpose. 



158 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Gba6 = kpao, intr, v. 

Gbate = kpate, tr, v, 

Gbate, intr, v, 

Gbaya, culj, & n. 
*Gbe, pron, 

Gbe, tr, t?., gbele. 
*Gbe, intr. v, 

Gbe, tr, V, 
Gbema 1 

Gb6, n, & V. 

Gb6, intr. v, 

Gbegbe, n. gbegb^. 

Gbela, gbeanga, prep. 

Gbele. 

Gb6l6 = gbe, tr. v, 

Gbenda, tr, v, 

Gbenge, gbengeme, adv, 
*Gbev4i, adv, 
*Obt, n.f gbl. 

Gbia^ kpia, tr. & intr, v. 

GbTahii, adj, 

Gbiaye, w., gbiayef. 

Gbo, tr. V. 
*Gbo, pr. 

Gbo, intr, v. 
*Gbottia, adv. 

GbStO, (u!j,f gb&t9ngo, 

Gbowu, i7Ur. v. 
Gb^wungo. 

Gbowu, intr. v. 

Gbowu, tr. V. 

Gboye, n,, gb5y6. 

Gboyo, tr. v. 

Gbu and gbue, adv, 
*Ge, adv. 

Ge = ke, tr. v. 
Ge ange, angle. 

Gele, n, & tr. v. 
*Getete, adv. 

Gili = kill, intr. v, 
Gili a na. 



cry out, scream. 

make, construct, repair. 

be, or become rich. 

strong, force. 

what. 

drive away, dismiss. 

let, allow. 



stop that ! wait ! 

business, be busy. 

look. 

parrot. 

near. 

what is the matter ? 

leave, dismiss, look at, etc. 

pluck fruit, snatch. 

yesterday. 

why? 

rudder. 

pull out, come out. 

tall. 

likeness. 

help. 

what? 

relieve one's self, go w.c. 

again. 

many, much. 

be tired. 

tired. 

ripen. 

bury. 

sea. 

finish. 

last night. 

some time ago, the other day. 

show. 

show me, him. 

end. 

tightly. 

think, brood over, remember. 

think of that. 



VOCABULARIES 



159 



Go = ko, koi. 

Go = ko, n., goi. 

Go = ko, tr. V, 
*Go, tr, V. 

£i ngi go a mehe. 
*Gogoli, adj, 

*Gola, v., used with nde, as 
nd^gola. 

Ggla = kola, tr, v. 

Gole = kole, tr. v, 
*Goli, tr. v., go'i. 

Goli, tr. V. 

Gome = kQme, tr. v. 

Gona = kQna, tr. v. 
*GQro, n.j gore. 
GQrola, gorolef. 

Gowo, intr. v. 

Gu = ka, intr. v. 

Gu = ku, n., kui. 

Guha = kuha, a€^'.,guhaDgo. 

Gula = kula, tr. & intr. v. 

Gula = kula, w., kure. 
*Gulo, adv. 

Gulo = kulo, adj., kulongo. 

Guru = kuru, tr. v. 

Gutu = kutu, adj.f kutungo. 

*Ha, n.f hei. 

*Ha, adv. 

*Ha, n.f hei. 

*Ha = hani, n. 

*Ha, v., haogo. 

*Haga, hawa, adj., hawango. 

*Haga, hawa, tr, v. 

*Haka, n., hakei. 

*Haka, adj., hakango. 

*Hala, halage, adj. 

*Hal5, n., hal6. 

*Hama, n., hamel. 

*Hango, adj. 

♦Hani, w., hani 



war. 

belly. 

fight. 

give. 

give him food. 

white. 

tell a lie. 

surprise. 

divide. 

pluck (fruit). 

buy a wife. 

collect, assemble. 

introduce. 

wall round a town, etc. 

gateway in same. 

fly. 

can, able, enough, reach. 

smell. ^ 

far. 

drop, fall. 

cloth. 

in front. 

small. 

accept. 

short. 

female. 

to-day. 

death. 

thing. 

die, dead. 

lazy. 

clear, carve. 

load, utensil, thing 

empty. 

first. 

medicine. 

wet season ; waist. 

dead. 

thing. 



160 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



*Hap5, n., hape. 


root. 


*Hawa, ac^/., hawaDgo. 


lazy. 


*Hege, n., Heg6 = hewe. 


soap. 


*Hei, tr, & intr, v. 


sit, set, plant. 


*Heiwulu, n., heiwulT. 


stool. 


♦Hele, tr. v. 


hang. 


*Hemu, n.f hemui. 


light, candle, etc. 


*HeDga, n,y henge. 


dream. 


Heng'k wile. 


to dream. 


*Hewu, adj.f hewungo. 


equal. 


♦HI, tr. V. 


plant. 


*Higbe, intr, v., higbengo. 


sick. 


*Hija, tr. v. 


beat, stamp. 


*Hije, hiye, intr. v. 


get up. 


*Hina, n., hin^. 


male. 


*Hinda, hingda, n., hindel. 


thing, affair, place. 


*Hindo, n.f hindoi. 


man. 


*Hind6lO, w., hindoloi. 


son. 


*Hini, n.j hinl 


husband. 


♦Hite, tr. v. 


let down. 


intr. V. 


reach, consult. 


*Hiye, adv. 


indeed, yes. 


*Hiye, intr. v. = hije. 


arise. 


♦Ho, tr. V. 


sew. 


*Ho, tr. V. 


knock, strike against. 


*Ho, adv. 


then, used at end of interro- 




gative sentences. 


*Hoe, interj. 


shall we ? 


*Hokpa, n., hgkpe. 


nose. 


*Hona, tr. v. 


practise witchcraft against. 


♦Hondo, adj. 


hundred. 


*Hota, w., hot^. 


guest, stranger. 


*Hou, tr. V. 


catch. 


Houma ! 


catch hold ! 


*Ha, n.f hui. 


inside. 


prep. 


in. 


*Hu, prefix. 


an intensitive prefix to verbs. 


♦Hua, n.y huei. 


animal, meat. 


*Hagbe, tr, v. 


look into. 


*Huge, tr, V, 


explain, relate. 


*HugQ, tr, V. 


understand, attempt. 



VOCABULARIES 



161 



*Huguhango (pronounced 

almost ngwango), 
*Huma, tr, v. 
*Huma, tr, v. 
*Hupu, tr. V, 
*Huyela, tr, v, 

n,pr, 
%pr, 
*I, adv, 
*Ina, conj, 
*Ita, adj, 

*Ja, tr, V, 
Ja a ngie. 
Jama = sama, n., jamei. 
Jango = sawango, adj, 

Wu jango. 
Jgga = jia ka. 
*Ji, dem, pr. 
* Ji, conj, 

Ji = je = nje, n, 
*Jia, intr, v. {also ji). 
n., jiei. 
Jia = njia, n., njiei. 
*Jialo, n,, jialoi. 
*Jiwi, n,, jiwi. 
Jo = so, also jolo, tr. v, 
JqIsl = sola, n,f sole. 
Jondu = sQndu, t7\ v, & n. 
Jongo = songo, n, 
Ngi jongoi. 
Gbe jongo ? 

JOSO = BQSO, tr. V. 



distant. 

steal. 

measure, compare. 

mix. 

sweep, wipe. 

he. 

he not. 

yes. 

if, suppose. 

one (used in counting). 

touch. 

touch it. 

distinguished person. 

three (special use). 

you three. 

walk quickly. 

this. 

when, if. 

mother. 

walk, travel. 

journey. 

word, palaver. 

child that can just walk. 

key. 

obtain, get, marry a wife. 

noisa 

swear, curse. 

equivalent. 

its equivalent, its cost. 

how much ? 

load a gun, pack a hole. 



K changes into G. 



Ka, n.,kai. 
*Ka, adv. 
Ka = kara, tr. v. 
Ka, n., kei. 



dirt. 

very, very much. 

teach. 

husk, empty shell, etc. 



162 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Kafa, tr, v. 


cheat. 


Kaha, w., kahei. 


basket. 


Kahu, 71., kahui. 


body. 


Kaye, w., kay^. 


rust. 


*Kak4, adv. 


quickly. 


♦Kaka, adv. 


very. 


Kaka = gaka, yaka, w., kakei. 


side. 


Kake, n., kakei 


wall 


Kala, n,y kalei. 


circle. 


Kale, 71., kal6. 


seed, bone, cartridge. 


Kali, 71., kali. 


hoe. 


Kali, 71., kali. 


snake. 


Kalo, 71., kalOi. 


basin. 


Kama hani, n. 


wonderful thing. 


Kamba, 7i., kamb^. 


grave. 


Kaha, 7»., kaha. 


box. 


Kani, ti., kani 


— 


Kani gboli. 


gold. 


Kani gogole. 


silver. 


*Kar5, 71., Karomo. 


Vai, a neighbouring people to 




the Mendes. 


KasO, am:?/- 


cunning. 


Knta, 71., katei. 


hedge. 


Kat^hii. 


garden, enclosure. 


Kaye, n., kay6. 


fault. 


Ke = ge, V. 


show. 


*Ke, co7i/. 


and. 


*Ke, 71., kei. 


father, master. 


*Kea = kia and kina, conj,, &c. 


when. 


Kea ji na. 


like this. 


Kele, tr, v. 


end. 


*Kelei, kerel 


is it not so 1 


Kelema, 7i., kelemei. 


end. 


*Kene, 7i., kene. 


old man, a title of respect. 


Kenye, 7i., kenyei 


country. 


*Kia, conj. 


whilst, when, etc. 


*Kina, conj. 


ditto 


KO = go, w., gOi. 


belly. 


Ko, 71., koi, also v. 


war. 


Ko, kolo, tr. V. 


know, try. 


KQhu, n., koihu or kohui. 


bally. 



VOCABXTLAHIES 



163 



Kphune, n,, kobun^. 


joy. 




Koko, n., kokoi. 


ant-hill. 




Koko, tr. V. 


find. 




Kokoli, tr. v. 


ditto 




Kolama, tr. v. 


surprise. 




Koli, n,, koll. 


scissors. 




Kple, tr, V, 


wash, clean. 




KQle, adj., kQlengo. 


clean. 




Kfile, tr. V. 


divide. 




Kole, adj,, kolengo. 


cold. 




Koli, n.y koli. 


leopard. 




Koli, tr. 


pluck fruit. 




KqIo, n.f kole. 


paper, book, skin. 




KOlO, n., koli. 


iire-place, barrel. 




KqIq, tr. V. 


try, feel. 




*Kq1u, n,, kfili. 


iron. 




Koma, w., kom^. 


assembly. 




Kpine, tr. v. & noun. 


collect, meet. 




Komi, n., koml. 


bee, honey. 




Kpnda, n., kpnd^. 


mortar for pounding 


grain. 


Kpnu, n.y kOnl. 


axe. 




Koto, adj.; kOtOngo, v. 


bent ; roll up. 




KQtu, n., koti. 


rock, stone. 




Kowe, w., kQw6. 


log, fallen tree. 




Kowo, acy. 


left (hand). 




KOwO, iw^r. V. 


fly. 




Kowu, w., kowT. 


wood. 




*Ku, n., kui. 


day. 




Ku, ?i., kui. 


smell. 




Kiihama, adj. 


far. 




Kuimeni, tr. v. 


smell. 




Kui neingo. 


it smells sweet. 




Kui nyamungo. 


it smells bad. 




Ku = gu, V. 


can, able. 




Kula = gula, t7\ & intr. v. 


drop, fall. 




Kula, w., kul6, kur^. 


cloth. 




Kula gutu, n., kula guti. 


lit. small cloth, rag 
piece. 


or any 


KuIq, adj., kulongo, kuli, 


smaU. 




gulongoi, wuli, wulongoi. 






Kulu = kuru, tr. & intr. v. 


agree, accept. 





164 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Kand^hd, n. 

Kangoi hu, n. 

Kuru = kolu^ tr, & intr. v. 

Kutu, adj.^ kutungo. 



comer, or recess for a bed. 
annex to a house, room, 
agree, accept, 
short. 



Kp changes into Gh. 



Kpa, n.^ kpa^. 

Kpa, adj. 

KpS = kpala = kpa^. 

Kpa, adv, 

Kpa, tr. V. 

Kpaki, n., kpaki. 

Kpakpa, tr v. 

Kpakpaa, adj., kpakpaungo. 

Kpala, n., kpal6. 

Kpale, 71., kpal^. 

Kpambi, n., kpambi. 

Kpande, tr. & intr. v. 

Kpande, n., kpande. 

Kpandi, tr. v. ; adj., kpandi- 

ngo. 
Kpangba, n., kpangb^. 
Kpio, n. & tj* 
Kpate, tr. v. 
Kpate, adj., kpatengo. 
Kpa wo, n. , kpawui. 
Kp6, n. 

Kpengo, adj. 
Kp6, tr. V. 
Kpe, adv. 
Kpe, tr. V. 
Kp5 = kp^le, ir. V, 
K-pgkpe^ t?. & adj. 

= yekpe, yekpengo, 
Kpele = kpere, adj, 
Kpele, n.p kpel^. 
KpSlS, n., kpglSi and kp5l. 
KpSma = kpelema, n., kpSm^. 
Kpla = gbia, v. 
Kpindi, n., kpindi. 



debt. 

different. 

farm. 

fast. 

count. 

arm, shoulder, wing. 

fasten, naiL 

difficult. 

farm. 

pain. 

line, mark. 

shout out. 

gun. 

heat, hasten; hot. 

broom, 
cry, calL 
make, repair, 
rich, 
bridge, 
business, 
busy, 
stop. 

still, quiet, 
drive, dismiss, 
look at. 
good. 

all. 

beard. 

time. 

time. 

pull out, come oat. 

night. 



VOCABULARIES 



165 



Kpini, tr. v. 


twist 


Kpiti, n., kpiti. 


grass. 


Kpohil, n. 


flour. 


Kpoko, w., kpokoi 


evening. 


Kpoku, intr. v. 


sprout. 


KpolS, adj, kpolengo. 


unripe. 


Kpoli, tr. V, 


drink. 


Kpoli, w., kpoli. 


river. 


Kpolo, n. kpoli. 


salt. 


Kpowa, adj.y kpowango. 


foolish. 


Kpoye, n,f kpoy^. 


sea. 


Kpoyo tr. v. 


finish. 


Kptieila, n., kpueil6. 


hut. 


Kpuko, n., kpukoi. 


bed. 


Kpuli, tr. V. 


shave the head. 


Kpulo, n., kpuli. 


knot. 


La = nda, n., lai. 


leaf. 


La = nda, n., lei. 


mouth, opening as a gate, etc, 


La = nda, tr. v. 


pull. 


La = nda, tr. & intr. v. 


ay, lie, place. 


*La, adv. 


not. 


*La, w., lei 


name. 


Labu = ndabu, adv. 


in front. 


Lagbou = ndagbou, tr. v. 


shut. 


Lahl = ndahl, tr. v. 


warn. 


Tiakpa = ndakpa, v. 


grow up. 


Lala = ndala, n., lalei. 


oar. 


Lama = ndama, n., lamei. 


lying down place, bed. 


Lapi = ndapi, v. & n. 


fight (not war), wrestle, swim. 


LatQ = ndatO, tr. v. 


praise. 


Lave = ndave, tr. v. 


fill. 


Lavengo. 


full. 


Lawo = ndawo, tr. v. 


open. 


Layia = ndayia, n., layiei. 


word, order. 


Lf = nde, tr. v. 


bear, beget. 


Le = de = te, tr. v.; intr. v. 


lift up ; climb. 


*Le, adv. 


still. 


*L5, adv. 


a little. 


Le = ndS, intr. v. 


speak, tell. 


Le = de, tr. v. 


condemn. 



_J 



166 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



*Le,t?. 


to be. 


Le = nde, w., ndei. 


a lie. 


Le = lewe = tewe. 


cut, pass. 


Lekpe = ndekpe, tr. v. 


arrange in order. 


*Lele, adv. 


slowly. 


♦Lele, adj. 


wrong. 


Leli = ndSli, tr, v. 


appease. 


Lema = iidem% tr. v. 


forget. 


Lembi = ndembi, tr. & inir. v. 


delay. 


Lemu = temu, U*. v. 


acquit. 


Lenga = ndenga, pi. n. 


children. 


Lenga = tenga, adv. 


together. 


Lewe = tewe, tr. v. 


cut, pass. 


= ndewe, tr. v. 


beat. 


Li = ndl, w., li. 


heart. 


*Li, intr. v. 


go. 


past tense, ya. 




Lia = ndia, w., ndiei. 


middle. 


Lila = di la, tr. v. 


take away. 


Lima = ndima, n., limei 


choice. 


Liwi = tlwT, tr. V. 


close (the eyes). 


♦Lo, V. 


to be. 


Lo = to, ^. V. 


see. 


Lo = nd9, w., l?i. 


child. 


Lo = do « to, ^. & inta-. v. 


stand, stop, build, follow. 


Lo .-= ndQ, n.y loi. 


rum, wine. 


*Lo, n., loi. 


day. 


Lo = do = to, ^. V. 


send. 


*L6, ^r. V. 


like, want. 


Lo = ndo, ^r. v. 


leave. 


L5hu = ndohii, ^. & intr. v. 


lose, be lost. 


Lsko = toko, n., iQkoi. 


hand, arm. 


Lole = ndole, n., 1q16. 


hunger. 


*L6le, cwfv. 


how many. 


Loli = dOH, n. & v. 


play, dance. 


Lolo = ndfilo, n., \q\6. 


ground, country. 


*Lq1u, adj. 


five. 


*Lome-l6me, adv. 


noiselessly. 


Londo = ndOndO, v. 


be silent, cease. 


Lowu = ndowu, tr. v. 


hide. 


Lua = ndua, n. & v. 


fear. 


Lugo = tugo, adv. 


in front. 



VOCABULAEIES 



167 



Lula = ndula, intr. v. 
Luma = duma, intr, v. 
Luva = nduva, intr. v. 

*Ma, prefix, 
*Ma, pr, 
*Ma, pr. 
*Ma, jtwep. 
*Ma, tr, V. & n, 
*Mabali, tr, v, 
*Made tr, v, 
*Madewe, tr, v, 
*Magbiaj tr. v. 
*Mag^mby, tr. v, 
*Mahaj n. mahei. 
*Maheu, in*, v. & adj, 
*Mahou, tr, v, 
*Mahu, prep- 
*Mabugbele {-gbe), tr. v. 
*Majia, tr. v. 
*Make, tr. v. 
*Mal6, Pr. V, 
*Male, tr. v. 

*Malewe, made we, tr. v, 
*Maluve, tr. & intr. v. 
*Mamaj ?»., mame. 
*Mamag6, t**, matnagei, 
*Manaainaii, n., mamaraaui, 
*Mamo, n., mamoi. 
*Maina. adj. 
*Mana, n., man^. 
* Man da, adv. 
*Mane, adj, & tr. v. 
*Mane, manebe, tr. v. 
*Mani, w., manl. 
*Mani, tr. v. 
*Manu, tr. v. 
*Mato, tr. V, 
*Mavula, tr. v. 
*Mawab*, n., mawali. 

Hawaii hou. 
*Mawele, tr. v. 



rot, decay, 
consent, 
spend the day. 

intensitive prefix to verbs. 

we. 

we not. 

for, on, to. 

desire. 

refuse, binder. 

raise. 

cut off, detain. 

undress, pluck a bird. 

strip leaves off a brancb. 

king, cbief. 

equal, make equal. 

cboose. 

on, above. 

watcb over. 

sell. 

feed. 

meet, overtake. 

cover, roof. 

cut off. 

change. 

elderly person, grandparent. 

foolishness. 

pity. 

owner. 

foolish. 

plantain. 

tightly. 

sweet, sweeten. 

watch. 

trap. 

want, be in need of. 

forgive. 

add to, increase. 

hasten. 

bet. 

make a bet. 

cover. 



168 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



♦Mawulo (mau'ro), tr. v. 


wait for. 


*Mayafa, tr. v. 


backbite. 


♦Maye, tr, v. 


stoop, lower. 


♦Mayela, tr. v. 


brush. 


*Mayia, n., mayieL 


accusation. 


Mayia ge. 


accuse. 


*Mayili, tr, v. 


dress. 


Mb changes into B. 


Mba, n., mbai. 


friend. 


*Mba, 2?rep, 


top. 


Mba, n., mbei. 


rice. 


Mbaka, n,, mbak6. 


music. 


Mbala, n,, mbal6. 


sheep. 


Mbali, tr, v. 


vomit. 


Mbalu, n,, mbali. 


cane loop to climb trees. 


Mbawa, n,, mbawe. 


soap. 


*Mbe, adv. 


to me here. 


Mbela, tr, v. 


split, tear. 


Mbele = mbewele. 


this road. 


Mb5mb5, tr, v. 


swing round, encircle. 


Mbo, tr, & intr, v. 


dig. 


MbO, tr, & intr, v. 


pierce, penetrate. 


Mbogba, n,, mbogb6. 


cutlass. 


Mbola, w., rnbol^. 


cup. 


MbolS, intr, v. 


be blind. 


Mb5lo, w., mboli, mbolohu. 


throat. 


Mboma, n., mbom^. 


hammock. 


Mbonda, n,, mbOnd^. 


kindred. 


MbQwa, TT., mbgw^i. 


knife. 


Mbu, adv, & pr^. 


under. 


Mbumbu, tr, v. 


take up. 


Mbumbu, w., mbumbui. 


fish-trap. 


♦Ms. 


we not (condit.). 


*M6. 


we say. 


*Me, tr. V. 


eat. 


*Mehe, w., mehei. 


food. 


*Meni and me, tr, v. 


hear, understand, perceive. 


*Mi, mindo, adv. 


where. 


*Mia, miando, adv. 


yonder. 



VOCABULARIES 



169 



*Mia, V, 


is. 


*Migbe, culv. 


when? 


*Miji, n. miji. 


needle. 


*Mini, n, & adj. 




MiDingo. 


heavy. 


*Mita, n. mit^. 


spoon. 


*Mo, £r. V, 


burn. 


*Moli, ir. V. 


ask. 


♦More, Moremo, Moremoi. 


More man, i. e. Moor by deri- 




vation — any Mahommedan. 


*Mu, pr. 


we. 


*Mu, pr. 


we not. 


*Mua, pr. 


we. 


*Mua, intr. v. 


bathe. 


*Muinu, cufj. 


small, applied to young birds, 




nails, etc. 


*Na, adv. 


there. 


*Na, dem.pr. 


that. 


*Na, adv. 


now. 


*Nama, %., nam^. 


blood. 


*Namu, intr. v. 


slip. 


*Nani, adj. 


four. 


*NavO, n., navpi. 


money. 


Nda, n., ndai = lai. 


leaf. 


Nda, 71., ndei = lei. 


mouth, door. 


*Nda, 71., ndei. 


portion. 


Ngi nda, poss. pr. 


his own. 


Nda = la, ir. v. 


lay, lie down. 


Nda, tr. v. 


pull. 


^Ndahani, «,, ndabani. 


meat, fish, etc., used as food. 


Ndakpa -- lakpa, inir. i'. 


grow. 


Ndakpa, ??,, ndakpei. 


young man. 


NdakpalQ, w., ndakpalgi. 


ditto. 


Ndalo lair/, tr. d. 


join. 


Ndapi = lapi, tr. v. 


fight, wrestle, swim. 


Ndavg = lave, tr. v. 


fill. 


NdawO = lawQ, tr. v. 


open. 


NdS = le, 71., lei. 


child. 


*Nde = ndewe, n., ndei. 


brother. 



170 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Nd6 = le, Vr, v. 

Nde = le, w. 

Nd6 = l6, tr. V. 
♦Ndeggla, intr. v. 

Ndeli = deli, v, & adj., nde- 
lingo. 

Ndende = lende, n., ndendei. 

Ndevu = levu, w., levuL 

Ndewe = lewe, tr. v. 
*Ndewe, n., ndewei. 

Ndi = U, n. IL 

Nd ia lift , n ., ndiei » also prep, 
^Ndiamo, n., ndiamoi 

Ndile or ndili =» dile, n., ndili. 

Nd9 = lo, w., loi. 

Nd6 = 15, tr. V, 

Ndo = 1q, w., loi. 

NdogbQ = dogbQ, n., ndogboi. 

Ndoke = lOke, tr, v. 

Ndgle ^ dole, n., ndfile. 
*Ndolg, tr. 1). 

Ndoli = dOli, n., ndoli. 

NdQlo = IqIo, 71., ndol^. 

lJ"doma = lOma, w., nd5me 
(dooiue). 

Kduma = doimij n., ndom^ 
(dorm^). 

^dondo = loDdo, v. 

Ndopa = dopa, w., ndop^. 

Ndopo = lOpO, n,, ndopoi. 

Ndovo = lovo, intr, v, 

Ndowa = lOwa, w., ndow^. 

Ndowo = lOwQ, n,y ndOwoi. 

Ndowu = Iqwu, tr. & intr. v, 

Ndufe = lufe, tr, v. 

Ndtila = lula, tr, & intr. v. 

Nduli = dull, n., nduli. 

Nduwe = luwe, tr, v, 
*Ne, n.f nei. 
*Ne, n.f nei, & tr. v. 
Nengo. 



tell, 
a lie. 

bear, beget, 
tell a lie. 
wet. 

boat. 

life, rest. 

beat. 

brother. 

heart. 

middle. 

friend. 

boa-constrictor. 

son, daughter. 

leave. 

rum, wine. 

bush. 

clear bush, etc. 

hunger. 

bear children. 

hook, fish-hook. 

ground, world, country. 

shirt. 

ground. 

cease. 

antelope, deer. 

boy, girl, inferior. 

be unsuccessful. 

hole. 

horn. 

hide. 

extinguish. 

rot. 

smoke. 

clear the bush. 

tongue. 

pleasure, please. 

sweet. 



VOCABULARIES 



171 



*Nem4hS, n. 


sense. 


Nemdhu lengo. 


clever. 


*Nene, w., nenef. 


shade. 


*Neni & ne, v. 


sweeten. 


*Nete, 71., net^. 


door ( = the door itself). 


Nga = ga,;?r. 


I. 


Nga = ga, pr. 


I not. 


Nga, adv, & prep. 


on top. 


Ngafa = yafa, n,, ngafei. 


spirit. 


Ngafa = yafa, tr, v. 


slander. 


Ngahango = yahango, adj. 


blunt. 


Ngahuma = yahuma, ir, v. 


steal from. 


Ngala = yala, n,, ngal6. 


mat. 


Ngale = yale, tr, v. 


break. 


Ngali = gali, n., ngali. 


thorn. 


Ngalu = ngau = yau, w., nga- 

Ini 


egg, moon. 


lUl. 

Ngama = yama, w., ngamei. 


eye, face. 


Ngama = yama, tr, & intr, v 


return. 


NgangS = yange, tr, & intr, v. 


scratch, itch. 


Ngape, tr, v. 


turn upside down. 


Ngara = gara, %., ngar6. 


a coarse grass. 


Ngate = yate, tr. & intr, v. 


kindle. 


*Ngg,jw. 


I not. 


*Ng6, V. 


I say. 


Ngela = yela, tr, v. 


sweep, clean, wipe. 


^Ngela-ngela. 


one by one. 


*]S^g5le, n., ngglel. 


heaven, sky, cloud. 


*Ng6lewo, adv. 


at daybreak. 


*Ngeleya, adv. 


aloft. 


Ngell = yell, tr. v. 


abuse. 


*Ngenda, n. 


morning. 


Ngenge = yenge, w., yeng^. 


work. 


Ngengemo, 7i.,ngeiigemoi; pi. 


workman, labourer. 


gengebra. 




*Ng6vo, n., ngevoi. 


dry season. 


*Ng6wQ, n.f NgewQi. 


God. 


Ngeya = yeya, n., ngeyei. 


rope. 


Ngeya = yeya, tr. v. 


buy. 


Ngi = gi, pr. 


I. 


Ngi,p-. 


his, him. 



172 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ngi = gi, pr. 


I not. 


*Ngie, pr. 


him. 


Ngila = gila, w., ngil6. 


dog. 


NgTli = yill = yi, tr. v. 


cook. 


Ngili = ylll, tr. v. 


bind. 


*Ngitiya, adv. 


outside. 


*Ngiy5, n., ngiye. 


hill. 


♦Ngiye, conj. 


until, except. 


Ngo = wo, n. & v., ngoi. 


cry. 


Ngo = wo, w., ngoi. 


voice, word, message. 


*Ngola,w.,ngol6. 


bush. 


Ngolg = gole, V. 


shave the face. 


NgOli bg, intr. v. 


piss. 


NgQlo = wolo, ocy., ngolongo. 


large. 


Ngolo = wolo, intr. v. 


weep. 


Ngombu = yombu, n., ngo- 


fire. 


mbui. 




Ngongo = ngolongo, wongo, 


large. 


adj. 




Ngongolu = yongolu, n., ngo- 


tooth. 


ngolui. 




Ngova = wova, ngovango, 


old. 


adj. 




Ngu = wu, n., ngui. 


head. 


Ngu = wu, tr. V. 


wake up. 


Ngua = wua, n. nguei. 


fruit. 


Ngua = wua, tr. v. 


wash (clothes), put on, thrust 


Ngulg = wule, n. & v., ngule. 


in. 

SODg. 


Nguli = gull, tr. V. 


paddle. 


Ngulo = wulo, n.f ngul6. 


oil. 


Ngulu = wulu = nguru,w., 


tree, stick. 


nguli. 




Ngundu, adj\, wundungo. 


green, raw. 


*m, adv. 


so, thus. 


*Nika, n.j nikef. 


cow. 


*Nina, adj., ninango. 


new. 


*Nini, n., nini. 


female breast. 


Nja = ya, n., njei. 


water, rain. 


*Njala, n,, njalel. 


landing-place. 


♦Njalowa, n., njalOw6. 


water-hole. 



VOCABULARIES 



173 



Njasa = yasa, 7*., yas6. 

Nje = yi, n., nji. 
*Nj5, ?i., njei. 

Nje = yS, tr, v, 

Njepe = yepe, n,& «?., njep6. 

Nji = yi, 71. & t?., njl. 

Njia = yla, w., njiei. 

Njuo = yuo, 71., = DJuoi. 
*Nu = numu^ ti., numui ; 

pi, nunga. 
*Nwona, aS;., nwonango. 
*NwonT, n., nwonl. 
♦Nya, pr, 

*Nyaha, n., nyabef. 
*Nyamu, adj., nyamuDgo. 
♦Nyande, adj., nyandengo. 
*Nyani, tr. v. 
*Nyap5, 7»., nyapoi. 
*Nye, n., ny6. 
*Nyegi, tr. v. 
*Nyi, tr. V. 
*NyQko, n., nygkoi. 
*NyonyQ, jor. 

Pa = wa, tr. v. 

Panda = wanda, adv. 
*Pawa, tr. v. & n., paw6. 

Pg = p5le = wS = w6l5 = pil5 

= wile = wiri, wi, tr. v. 
*Pei or pen, adv. 

Peka = weka, n.; adj., pekef. 

Pela = wela, tr. v. 

Pela = wela, intr. v. 
*P5-14, n., p5 let 
*P5le, n., pSle or pSli. 

Pels = w5l6, 71., p5lei. 
PSbu. 
*Pena, n., p5n6. 

Pili = will = p*ll, tr. V. 

Pime = wime, intr. v. 



thatch— generally, and from 

the oil-palm in particular, 
mother, 
goat, 
lower, 
talk, 
sleep. 

word, affair, palaver, 
finger, 
person. 

bitter. 

bird. 

my, me. 

woman, wife. 

bad. 

fine. 

spoil. 

young woman. 

fish. 

mark, wiite. 

bite. 

manner, sort. 

each other. 

kill. 

properly, 
pay. 
do. 

first. 

other. 

finish. 

fiee. 

doorway. 

road. 

house. 

indoors. 

clay for pottery. 

throw. 



174 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Pinde = winde, intr. v. 


jump. 


♦Po, tr, V. 


cut with an axe. 


*Polon, adv. 


far. 


Poma = wQina, n., pome. 


corpse. 


Poma = woma, prep, & adv.; 


behind. 


w., pomei or woma. 




Pona = bona, tr. v. k adj.^ 


straighten, straight. 


ponango. 




*POnje, tr. v. 


strip leaves. 


♦Popa, n., p5p6. 


pond, lake. 


Pop5 = wQpo, tr. V. 


carry on the back. 


*Poro, w., por^. 


earth, soil. 


Pote = wote, tr, v. 


turn. 


Powa = bQwa, w., pow^. 


flower. 


*Pi, adj. 


ten. 


Pu = wu, tr, V. 


put, pour. 


*Pu. 


European. 


Pumo, ptimoi. 


European person. 


Puyia, puyiei. 


European language. 


Pukpia = wukpia, tr. v. 


uproot. 


S changes into J. 


Sago, sao, adv. 


no. 


Sama = jama, n., sam^. 


person of distinction. 


Samba, n., sambe. 


basket. 


*Sande, n. 


a female society = Poro for 




men. 


*Sangba, n., sangbai. 


drum. 


♦Sange, adv. 


just now, recently. 


♦Sani, w., sani. 


bottle. 


*Sawa, adj. 


three. 


*Se, n., s6. 


thanks. 


*Segbiila, n., segbule. 


rattle. 


Seje, sese, tr. v. 


slice. 


Sejia, tr. v. 


shake. 


Sell, n., sell. 


judge, witness. 


*Sema, n., seme. 


bamboo. 


Sia, tr. v. 


rub. 


*SilO, n., silgi. 


spider. 


*Sina, adv. 


to-morrow. 


So = JQ = solo = jqIo, tr. V. 


marry, get, obtain. 



VOCABULARIES 



175 



Soku, adj.f sokungo. 

Sokuihu, n. 

Sole = jore, n., sol6. 

Solo = so. 

Sgndu = jundu, tr. v, 

Songo = jongo, 71., songoi, 

prep, 
Susu, cbdj.y susungo. 

*Ta, pr. 
*Ta, pr. 
*Ta, conj. 
*Ta, 71., tei. 
*Tamia, conj. 
*Tanga, w., tange. 

Tato = tOt^ = iQt^, tr. v. 
*Tau, adj. 
*Tave, 71., tav6. 
*Tawa, 7*., taw6. 
*T6. 
*Te, 71., te. 

Te = le = de, tr, v. 
*Tg, £m/v. 

*Tekpe, 7i., tekpe. 

Teli = deli, adj., telingo. 

Temu = lemu = demu, tr. v. 

Tenga = lenga, adj. 

* adv. 

= lenga, prep. 

Tewe = lewe = dewe, tr. v. 
*Tewu, n., tewui. 
*Ti. 
*Ti. 
*Tia. 
*Tie. 
*Tifa, 71., tiU. 

Tikpo = likpo, 71., tikpoi. 

Tiwi = liwi, tr. v. 

To = lo = do, tr. V. 



bend. 

cape, corner of a wood, etc. 

noise, shouting. 

see 80. 

curse. 

price. 

instead of. 

deep. 

he, she, it. 

he not, she not, it not. 
and, with, 
town. 

therefore ; so it is. 
cassada. 
begin, 
nine. 

tobacco-pipe, 
tobacco, 
they not. 
fowl, 
they say. 
raise. 

almost; also indicates con- 
tinuous action, 
basket, 
black. 

acquit, ask pardon, 
some, 
perhaps. 

towards, together with, 
cut, pass, cross, decide, 
palm-nuts, 
they, them, 
they not. 
they, 
them, 
twig. 

walking-stick, 
close (the eye), 
see. 



176 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



To = 16 = do, tr. V, 


send, point at, stand, build. 




follow. 


*Tohe, n, k intr. v. 


cough. 


Toko = loko, 71., tokoi. 


hand, arm. 


*Tokpo, 71 , tokpoi. 


oil-palm. 


*Tokpolo, n., tokpoloi. 


palm wine. 


Toli = loli = doli = ruri, tr. v. 


call. 


T5lo = 1(?16, w., toloi. 


jealousy. 


*Tone, tr, v. 


tickle. 


*Tonya, n. 


truth. 


Toto = tato = IgtO. 


begin. 


TOWO = loWO, 71., tQW6. 


fame, report. 


*Tqwu, n., towui 


palm-nut. 


Tukpe = lukpe, tfi\ v. 


push. 


Tuwo = tugo = lugo = 111 wo, 


before. 


adv, & prep. 




V changes into F. 


Va, prep. 


of, on account of, for. 


Va, tr, V, 


salute, say good-bye. 


Vala, tr, v. 


get ready. 


Yale, intr. v. 


grow — of plants. 


Vaya, tr. v. 


scatter. 


Ve = fe, tr, v. 


give. 


Ve, adv. 


completely. 


Veli, tr. V. 


say good-bye. 


Veil, «r. V, 


ask for. 


Vu, tw^. V. & adj. 


live. 


Nu vu. 


a living person. 


*Wa, pr. 


you. 


*Wa, /w. 


you not. 


*Wa, m<r. v. 


come. 


Waa. 


come with = bring. 


Wala, m<r. v. 


bring. 


*Wa, adj., wai. 


great. 


Wa = pa, tr. v. 


all. 


We = ye, prep. 


to, for. 


We = wglg, n. 


house. 


W6 = p6, ^. V. 


do. 


*W6,^. 


we not. 



VOCABULARIES 



177 



Wshinda = pghinda, w., wg- 


conduct. 


hindef. 




Weka = peka, adj. 


other. 


Wela = pela, tr, v. 


finish. 


Wela = pela, intr, v. 


run away. 


Wgl5 = pele = pe = we. 


do. 


Will = pill, tr, V. 


throw, shoot. 


Wime = pime, intr, v. 


run. 


*WQ,pr. 


own. 


Wo = ngo, 71., woi. 


voice. 


Wo = ngo, tr. V. 


break. 


*Wq, adv. 


formerly. 


♦Wofela, adj. 


seven. 


*Woita, adj. 


six. 


Wola = ngola, v, n. 


weeping. 


*Wol6 = WQ, intr. v. 


listen. 


Wolongo = ngolongo, adj. 


great. 


Woma = poma, n., womei. 


jack. 


prep. 


behind. 


*Wonga, n. pi., wOngeisia. 


relations. 


Wongo = ngongo, adj. 


big. 


Wopo = pOpo, tr. V. 


carry on the back. 


Wote = pote, tr. v. 


turn, answer. 


Wova = ngova, adj.yV>ovaiigo. 


old. 


*Wu, pr. 


you. 


* Wu, pr. 


you not. 


Wu = ngu, tr. V. 


awake. 


Wu = ngu, n., wui. 


head. 


*Wua, pr. 


you. 


Wua = ngua, intr. v. 


bear fruit. 


Wua = ngua, tr. v., or wa. 


wash. 


*Wue, pr. 


you. 


Wulo = kulo, adj.f wulongo. 


small. 


Wulo = ngulo, n., ngule 


fat, oil. 


Wulo, adj.f gulongo 


fat. 


Wulu = ngulu, n.f wuli. 


tree. 


Wumbu = mbumbu, tr. v. 


take up, carry. 


Ya, 7i. 


edge, surface. 


Ya, adv. k, prep. 


on top. 


*Ya, intr. v. 


go. 


12 





178 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



*Ya, t?. 


to be not. 


Ya, adv. 


not. 


Yaka = kaka, w., yakei. 


side, direction. 


*Yakp6, adj. 


same. 


YaJe = ngale, tr, v. 


break. 


Yama = ngama, n., yame. 


eye, face. 


*Yama, intr. v. 


return. 


Yate = ngate, tr, v. 


kindle. 


*Ye, V. 


be. 


*Y6, V. 


he says. 


Ye = we, prep. 


to. 


*Ye,pr. 


who? howl 


Ye = nje, intr, v. 


descend. 


*Ye, n., yei. 


country. 


Yeja = ngeja, adj. 


right (not left). 


Yeka = ngeka, adv. 


almost. 


Yekpe = kpekpe, ac?/., yekpe- 


good. 


ngo. 




Yela = yira = ngera, adj. 


one. 


Yela = ngela, tr, v. 


wipe. 


*Yele, V. 


be. 


Yele = ngele, intr. v. 


laugh. 


Yele = ngele, intr. v. 


scream. 


Yenge = ngenge, intr, v. 


work. 


Yepe = ngepe, intr. v. ; «., 


talk. 


yepei. 




*Yese, adj. 


first. 


♦Yetaha, n. 


own town, home. 


Yeya = ngeya, n. 


hand. 


Talo ngi yeya. 


it is (in) his hand = he has it. 


Yeya = ngeya, tr. v. 


buy. 


Yeya = ngeya, «., yeyef. 


rope. 


Yi = nji, intr. v. 


sleep. 


w., yl. 


sleep. 


Yi =: nji, n. 


mother 


*Yia, intr, v. 


speak. 


n.y yiei. 


talk, language. 


Yili = ngili, tr. v. 


cook. 


Yili = ngili, tr. v. 


tie. 


Yira = yila, adj. 


one. 


*Yo,p-. 


who. 



VOCABULARIES 



179 



XXI. English-Mendb. 
(The definite form is put in brackets.) 



Able, he is = he can. 

About. 

Above. 

Accept, agree. 

Accuse. 

Acquit. 

Across. 

Action. 

Add. 

Affair. 

Afraid, he is. 

After. 

Afternoon. 

Afterwards. 

Again. 

Against. 

Ago. 

Agree, accept. 

Aim at, aim at it. 

Alive. 

All. 

Alone. 

And. 

Animal. 

Another. 

Answer, v. 

Ant. 

Any. 

Appease. 

Arm. 

Arrange. 

Ask. 

Assemble. 

At. 

At once. 

Awake. 

Axe. 



igu. 

see under Prepositions. 

ma, mahti. 

kuru. 

mayia ge. 

temu. 

wQma. 

pghinda (pShindei). 

mat(). 

hinda, njia (hindei, njiei). 

i lua. 

WQma. 

kpokovQli. 

na wQma. 

gboma. 

ma. 

wo. 

kuru. 

to ; to ngi ma. 

vulungo. 

gbi, kpele. 

yakpe. 

ke, ta. 

hila (huei). 

peka. 

duma. 

see under Insects. 

gbi. 

li leli. 

tgkg (lOkoi). 

magbate. 

mgli, veli. 

kQme. 

gama. 

keyakpe. 

wu. 

konu (koni). 



180 



THE MENBE LANGUAGE 



Baby. 


ndgla (ndQle). 


Back, 


pgma (pOmei), wQma or woma. 


to carry on the 


pOp9, wOpo. 


Backbite. 


mayafa. 


Backbiter. 


ngafamo (ngafamoi). 


Bad. 


nyamu. 


Bag. 


baggi, sondubolo (sondubole). 


Bag (haversack). 


gbafa (gbafe). 


Bamboo, ordinary. 


keni, semi. 


palm from which 


nduvu (nduvui). 


piassava is made. 




Banana. 


seli, sele. 


Bank (of a river, etc.). 


ngiye (ngiyei). 


Barrel. 


kOlQ (kOlQi). 


Basket. 


tekpe. 


Bathe. 


mua. 


Be, V. 


lo, le, mia, ya, ye, yele. 


Bear (children). 


le, ndo le. 


Beard. 


gbele. 


Beat. 


ndewe. 


Become. 


w6l6, w5. 


Bed. 


gbuko (gbukw6), ndama (la- 




mei). 


Bee. 


komi. 


Before. 


place — gulo, tugo, labu. 




time— pen, ngova, ge, gba. 


Begin. 


tato, toto. 


Beginning. 


tatpma (tatQmei). 


Behaviour. 


wehinda (wehindei). 


Behind. 


woma. 


Believe. 


hou a tonya. 


Belly. 


kOhu (koihu or kohui). 


Belonging to me. 


nya wQ le = it is my own. 


Below. 


mbu. 


Bend. 


koto. 


Besides. 


gboma, ji woma. 


Bet, V. 


mawali hou. 


Better, it is. 


fisa. 


Between. 


Ha. 


Beyond. 


woma. 


Big. 


wa, ngongo. 



VOCABULARIES 



181 



Bird. 

Birth. 

Bite. 

Bitter. 

Black. 

Blame. 

Blind. 

Blood. 

Blunt. 

Board. 

Boat. 

Book. 

Both. 

Bottle. 

Bottom, the. 

Bow (for shooting). 

Box. 

Boy. 

Branch. 

Break, a house. 

a stick. 

a needle. 
Bridge. 

Bring, i.e. come with. 
Broom. 
Brother. 
Brush, V. 
Bud. 
Build. 
Burn. 
Burst. 
Bury. 

Bush (the forest). 
Busy, I am. 
But (rather and). 
Buy. 
By. 

Calf (animal). 

Call. 

Can, V, 



nwoni. 

15. 

nyi. 

nona. 

teli, telingo. 

kayg (kayel). 

mbgle, mbQlengo (mb()lengoi). 

nama (namei). 

ngahango. 

gbembele (gbembere). 

ndende. 

kolo (gold). 

venjo. 

sani. 

imbui. 

ndikpa (ndikp6). 

kaha (kana). 

ndgpO (ndOpOi). 

mbekg (mbeks). 

wo. 

yale. 

yale. 

kpawu (kpawi). 

wa a . ., wala. 

kpangba (kpangbe). 

ndewe, nde. 

mayela. 

kpoku. 

do.' 

mo. 

buH. 

kpowu. 

dogbo (dogboi). 

gbe lo nya ma. 

ke. 

ngeya, yeya. 

a. 

nika iQ (nika iQi). 
tOli, luli, ruri. 



182 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Carefully. 


panda. 


Carrier, i, e, labourer. 


ngengemoi. 


Carry (take up or away) 


bumbu. 


on the back. 


wOpO, pOpO. 


Cartridge. 


kale. 


Cask. 


kOlQ (kijli). 


Catch. 


hou. 


Cease. 


ndondo, londo, gele (end), 


Change. 


pote (turn). 




maluwe (transform). 


Cheap, i, e. not dear. 


ba 1 gbani. 




nyandengo (fine). 


Chief. 


maha (mahei). 


Child, 


ndO, 10, (iQi). 


able to walk. 


jia iQi. 


Children. 


lengesia. 


Choose. 


mahou, bumbu (take). 


Circle. 


kala (kalei), ka (kai). 


Clay. 


poro (pore), pena (pene). 


Clean, v. & adj. 


kole, kolengo. 


Clear the ground. 


nduwe. 


Clever, he is. 


ngi nemdhu lengo. 


Climb. 


de. 


Cloth. 


kula (kule). 


Cloud. 


ngele (ngele). 


Cold. 


kolengo. 


Collect. 


kome, yando. 


Comb, n. 


kpegbe 


Comb your hair, v. 


bi wui hagbia. 


Come. 


wa. 


Companion. 


mba (mbai). 


Complain. 


mayia ge. 


Condemn. 


le. 


Cook. 


ylli. 


Cork (of a bottle). 


sani lagbolui. 


Corner, 


kundo (kunde). 


recess for a bed. 


kundehQ. 


Cough. 


tohe. 


Count. 


kpa. 


Country. 


ye (yei). 




yetahu (home town). 



VOCABULARIES 



183 



Cover. 


mawele. 


Crooked. 


SQkungo. 


Cross, V. 


tewe. 


Cross-roads. 


pele la bame, ganania. 


Cry. 


ngo, wo. 


Cunning. 


kasQ. 


Cup. 


mbola (mbole). 


Cure. 


bawO. 


Cut. 


tewe. 


Cut your hair. 


bi wui malete (or) 




bi wui wOli. 


Cutlass. 


mbogbwa (mbogbwe), kpaio 




(kpatui). 


Daily. 


foil gbi, kugbima. 


Damp. 


ndelingo. 


Dance. 


dOli. 


Dancer. 


dglemo (dQlemoi). 


Dark. 


kpindi. 


" Dash," i, e, a present. 


mboya (mboyd). 


Dawn, at. 


ngelewQ. 


Day 


\o (loi), ku, fOlQ (foil). 


Dead. 


hango. 


Death. 


ha (h5i). 


Debt. 


kpa (kpei). 


Decide. 


tewe. 


Deep. 


susu, susungo. 


Deer, i. e. antelope. 


ndopa (ndope). 


Delay. 


lembi. 


Descend. 


hite, ye. 


Dew. 


lugbu (lugbui). 


Die. 


ha. 


Different. 


gba. 


Difficult. 


kpakpaungo. 


Dig. 


mbg. 


Dislike. 


dOlo. 


Dismiss. 


gbg. 


Divide. 


kole. 


Do. 


p6le, pill, pg ; wgl5, win, wg. 


Doorway. 


pele la (pele lei). 


Door itself. 


nete, 



184 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Down, t. 6. on the ground. 


dome (pr, dorme). 


Drag, draw. 


nda. 


Dream. 


hengd. 


Dress. 


magbate. 


Drink. 


gbole. 


Drop. 


gull 


Drum. 


sangba (sangbai). 


Drunk (wine holds him). 


ndo i ngi houa. 


Dry, V. 


bgH. 


adj. 


beli, belingo. 


Dry season. 


ngQVQ (ngOvQi). 


Dung. 


kpO (kpgi). 


Dwarf. 


tumbu (tumbui). 


Ffl<;h. 


gbi. 


Each other. 


nyo nyo (nyo nyoi). 


Ear. 


wqU. 


Early, morning. 


ngenda tete. 


Earth, L e. all countries. 


ndolo (ndole or ndoei). 


soil. 


poro (pQre). 


East. 


ko. 


Eat, tr. 


me. 


intr. 


mehe me. 


Ebb, of the sea. 


beli. 


Edge of a knife. 


ya. 


^^g' 


ngalu (yalui), te-yalui, te-yaui 


Empty. 


haka, hakango. 


End, V. 


gele. 


n. 


ikelemef. 


Enough, it is. 


igua. 


it is not. 


i guni. 


Equal. 


mahewu. 


Evening (afternoon). 


kpokovQi. 


Every. 


gbi. 


Examine (look into). 


hugbe. 


Explain. 


huge. 


Expose. 


gbia fgf Oiha. 


Eye. 


yama (yamei). 


Face. 


yama (yamei). 


Fftll 


gula. 



VOCABULARIES 185 


Fame. 


towo (to we). 


Family. 


mbOnda (mbond6). 


Far. 


kuhango, huguhango (jor. 




ngwango), mahQguhango 




(jt?r. ma'ngwango), kuhama. 


Farewell, to bid. 


See under Salutations. 


Farm. 


kpale, kpa (kpaei). 


Fasten. 


kpakpa. 


Fat, adj. 


gulongo. 


Father. 


ke (kei). 


Fault. 


kaye (kay^). 


Fear. 


lua. 


Feast. 


gOma (gOme). 


Feather. 


njOmbg (nJQmbgi). 


Fence. 


kata (kat^). 


Few. 


wulo. 


Field. 


kpale (kpale), kpa (kpae). 


Fight (wrestle). 


lapi. 


(war). 


kg (kgi). 


Fill. 


f e, fenda, ndave, lave, lavenda. 


Find, something new. 


koko, kokoli. 


something looked for. 


to (lit. see). 


Finish. 


gboyo. 


Fire, 


gombu (gombui). 


a gun. 


pili (lit. throw). 


First, the. 


i halagei. 


adv. 


yese, pen, gba. 


Fish. 


nye (ny6). 


Fisherma,n. 


nyegbemoi. 


Fishing-net. 


nye boma (bom6). 


Fish-hook. 


ndoli. 


Flower. 


pOwa (p0w6). 


Fly (insect). 


See under Insects. 


V, 


gowo, buwu. 


Follow. 


tg with wQma. 


Food. 


mehe (mehei). 


Foolish. 


mamungo. 


Foot. 


gowo (gowe). 


For. 


va. 


Forget. 


ISma. 


Forgive. 


manu. 



186 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



From. 


no word — see under Preposi- 




tions. 


Fruit. 


wua (wuei). 


FuU. 


lavengo. 


Gamble — with cowries. 


kpoyo-go (goi). 


with cards. 


kolo-go (goi). 


Garden. 


kpale(lit. farm). 




kat^hti (lit. compound). 


Gate. 


ngordla (ngorelei). 


Gather. 


ngando, yando. 


Get, obtain. 


JQ, so. 


Girl. 


nyapO (nyapOi). 


Give. 


fe, ffo (for uses see Part I). 


Go. 


h, ya. 


Gold. 


kani gbole. 


Good. 


yekpengo, nyandengo. 


Grind. 


fuka. 


Ground, n. 


ndomS (ndomei). 


Grow, 


lakpa. 


of plants only. 


vale. 


Hammock. 


mboma (mbom^). 


Hand. 


10k9(10kQi). 


Hang. 


hele. 


Happen. 


wglg, mal6. 


Hard. 


kpakpaungo. 


Hasten, tr, v. 


mavula. 


intr. 


pe kakd. 


Hat. 


bQle. 


Have, rendered by to be in the 


I have it, Ta lo nya yeya. 


hand. 


I have nothing, Hani gbi nya 




yeya. 


He. 


ta, a, i. 


Head. 


ngu, wu (wui). 


Heal. 


bawQ. 


Hear. 


meni, me. 


Heart. 


li. 


Heat, V. 


gbandi. 


Heavy. 


miningo. 


Help. 


gbo ; gbo nya ma, help me. 





VOCABULARIES 187 


Here. 




be. 


Hide. 




Iqwu. 


High. 




kuhango. 


Hill. 




ngiyg (ngiygi). 


Hit against. 




ho. 


Hold. 




hou. 


Hole. 




ndowa (ndowe). 


Home. 




yg (yei). 


Honey. 




komi (bee), komi yei (bees' 
water). 


Hook. 




ndOli. 


Hoop for climbing 


trees. 


mbalu (mball). 


Horn. 




ndgwO (iQwQi). 


Hot. 




gbandi, gbandingo. 


House. 




pe, pele, wele. 

ye (comes second in sentence). 


How. 








See under Adverbs. 


Hunger. 




ndole (ndol^). 


Hunt. 




kpe. 


Hurry, tr. 




mavula. 


intr. 




pe kaka. 


Husband. 




hini. 


Hut. 




kpueila (kpueil^). 


If. 




ina. 


Immediately 




keyakpe. 


In. 




hQ. 


Insect. 




ftihani, uaually jilvflral fu- 
hanisia. 


Inside. 




hu, goha. 


Instead. 




jongo. 


Intended, I. 




ngi yeto. 


Into. 




hu. 


Iron. 




kolu (kQli). 


Jealous. 




toio. 


Join. 




ndalo. 


Journey. 




jia (jiei). 


Joy. 




kohvLne. 


Judge, n. 




seli. 


V. 




tewe. 



188 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Jump. 


winde, pinde. 


Keep. 


hou. 


Kernel. 


kale (kal^). 


Key. 


jiwi. 


Kill. 


pa, wa. 


Kindred. 


wonga (wonge). 


Knife. 


mbowa (mbowd). 


Knock against. 


ho. 


Knot. 


kpulo (kpuli). 


Know. 


ko, go. 


Labourer. 


ngengemo (ngengemoi). 


Lame. 


kporongo. 


Language. 


yia (yiei). 


Large. 


wa, ngolongo, ngongo. 


Last, the. 


ikelemage. 


Late, come. 


lembi. 


Lately. 


sange, ge. 


Laugh. 


yele. 


Lay. 


nda, la. 


Lazy. 


hawango. 


Leaf. 


nda (ndai). 


Leak, v. 


mbo. 


Lean, v. 


digbl. 


Learn. 


ga. 


Leave, 


kp5lg, kpg. 


behind. 


15. 


Left hand, the. 


kowo lokoi. 


Leg. 


gowo (gow^). 


Let down, tr, v. 


hit6. 


Lie, tell a. 


nde gora. 


down. 


la. 


Lift. 


de. 


Light, w. 


hemu (hemui). 


not heavy. 


i minini. 


Like — 


kea . . . na. 


like this. 


kea ji na. 


tr. V, 


longo, followed by "a^ 




the object. 


Likeness. 


kpiaye (kpiayei). 



and 



VOCABULARIES 



189 



Line marked out. 


kpambi. 




Listen to. 


meni. 




Little. 


kulo, wulongo, mumu. 




Living. 


vulungo. 




Living person. 


nu vu. 




Load, n. 


haka (hakei). 




a gun. 


joso. 




Lock. 


kpolu (kpoli). 




Log. 


kowe (kow6). 




Long. 


kuha, kuhango. 




Look. 


kpele, gbe. 




for, t. e. search. 


kokoli. 




liooking-glass. 


meme. 




Loose, V. 


ful6. 




Lose. 


ndohu. 




Lower, tr. v. 


hit^, maye. ' 




part. 


imbui. 




Mad. 


gbuwa. 




Make a thing. 


gbate. 




i, e, do. 


we. 




Man. 


hindo (hindoi). 




Many. 


gboto, gbotongo. 




Mark, v. 


nyegi. 




Marry. 


nyaha jo (or jolo). 




Master. 


ke (kei). 




Mat. 


yala (yale). 




Measure, v. 


htima. 




Meat, 


haa (haei). 




including fish. 


ndahani (ndahani). 




Meet. 


male. 




Mend. 


gbate. 




Mende. 


Mende. 




Mendeman. 


Mendemo (Mendemoi). 




language. 


Mende yia (yiei). 




Message. 


^g9 (ngoi). 




Middle. 


lia (liei). 




Mix. 


hupu. 




Money. 


navo (navoi). 




Month. 
Moon. 


Ingalu, ngau (ngalui, yalui). 



190 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Morning. 


ngenda. 


Mortar for pounding. 


konda (konde). 


Mother. 


nj§ (yi). 


Mouth. 


la (lei). 


Much. 


gboto, gbotongo. 


Mud. 


pawa (paw6). 


Music. 


mbaka (mbak^). 


Must. 


= shall (future tense). 


Nail, n. 


londema (londeme). 


V, 


kpakpa. 


of the finger or toe. 


yengalu (yengalui). 


Name. 


bije (bijei), la (lei). 


Near. 


gbela. 


Nearly. 


yeka. 


Necessary, to be. 


mani. 


Needle. 


miji. 


Nest. 


nwoni-ta (nwoni-tei). 


Net. 


mboma (mbome). 


New. 


nina, ninango. 


Nice. 


nyande, nyandengo. 


Night. 


kpindi. 


No, 


erer, sao (emphatic). 


Noise. 


sore (sor6). 


None. 


gbl. 


Not. 


See chapter on Negative. 


Nothing. 


hani gbi. 


Now. 


sange. 


Oar. 


lala (lalei). 


Obey. 


wo meni. 


Obtain. 


jo. 


Of. 


va. 


Often. 


pepe. 


Oil. 


ngulo (nguli). 


Old. 


ngova, wovango. 


On. 


ma, maha. 


On account of. 


va. 


Only. 


yakpe, leke, yeke. 


Open. 


ndawo, lawo. 


Order, a direction. 


layia (layiei). 


Other. 


peka (pekei), weka (wekei), 



VOCABULARIES 



191 



Out. 


No word. See Prepositions. 


Out-house (room). 


kongu (kongui). 


Outside, i, e, in the open. 


ngitiya. 


Over, i, e. upon. 


ma. 


i, e. beyond. 


woma. 


Overtake. 


male. 


Own. 


wo, nda. 


my own. 


nya wo, nya nda. 


Pad for the head when carry- 


f uk5 (fukei). 


ing a load. 




Paddle, n. 


guli. 


V, 


nje guli. 


Pain, n, & v. 


gbale. 


Palm. 


See under Plants. 


Palm oil. 


ngulo gbou (ngulo gboui). 


Palm wine. 


tokpo lo (tokpo loi). 


Paper. 


kolo (kole). 


Pardon, ask. 


demu. 


Part. 


kaka. 


Pass. 


tewe. 


Path. 


pele (peli). 


Pay, n. & v. 


pawa. 


People. 


nunga. 


Perhaps. 


tenga. 


Person. 


numu (numui). 


Pick-up. 


bumbu. 


Pinch. 


foni. 


Pity. 


manu. 


Place. 


hinda (hind6). 


Plant, V. 


hi. 


Play, n. & v. 


iQli. 


Please, to. 


kone. 


Pluck, a bird. 


magbia. 


a flower, fruit. 


gole, go'e, gbenda. 


Point to. 


t6. 


Point to it. 


to ngi ma. 


Poison, 


pa-hale (pa-hal6). 


Pond, pool. 


popa (pop6). 


Possess, V. 


yeya, n. 


he possesses it, i, e, it 


ta lo ngi yeya. 


is in his hand. 





192 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Pot. 




fe (fei). 


Pound, V. 




kpakpa. 


Pour. 




pu, wu. 


Powder. 




dehe. 


Powerful. 




gbayango. 


Pray. 




he. 


Praise. 




lato. 


Prepare. 




hugbate. 


Present, w. 




mboya (mboy6). 


adv. 


i. e. here. 


be. 


Price. 




jongo (jongoi). 


Properly. 




panda. Very common word. 


Public, in. 




fofo hu. 


Pull, 




nda, la. 


out. 




kpia. 


Purpose on. 




a kege. 


Pursue. 




kpS. 


Push. 




tukpe. 


Put. 




pu, wu. 


Quick. 




kdkd. 


Quietly. 




lome-lome. 


Rag. 




kula gutu (kula guti). 


Rain. 




nja, njei. 


Rainy season 




hama (hame). 


Raise. 




te. 


Raw. 




ngundu, wundunga 


Reach. 




hit6. 


Ready. 




vala. 


Remain, i. e. i 


sit down. 


hei. 


Remainder. 




monu (monl). 


Remember. 




giii. 


Repair. 




gbate. 


Reply. 




pote, wote. 


Rest, V, 




ndevu, levu. 


Return, v. 




yama. 


Rice. 




mba (mbei). 


Rich. 




gbatengo. 


Right hand. 




yeja lokoi 


Right, adj. 




lemungo. 



VOCABULARIES 



193 



Ripe. 


bengo. 


Rise. 


hije, hiye. 


River. 


kpoli. 


Road. 


pele (peli). 


Rob. 


yahuma. 


Rock, n. 


kotu (koti). 


Roll, v. (of a ship). 


lekpe. 


Roll up. 


koto. 


Room, n. 


pels, w6l5, kongo, kongoihu. 


inner recess (comer). 


kundehu. 


Root. 


hape (hape). 


Rope. 


ngeya (ngeyel). 


Rot, i?. 


ndiUu. 


Round, adj. 


kikili, kekele, kere. 


V. to put round, en- 


mbimbi, gala. 


circle, pass round. 




Round about. 


ikakamage. 


Row, a boat. 


guli. 


Rub. 


sia. 


Rudder. 


gbi. 


Rum. 


ndo (ndoi), lo (loi). 


Run. 


pime, wime. 


Runner of a plant. 


ngeyako (ngeyakoi). 


Rust. 


kaiye. 


Sacrifice, n. 


sa hani. 


V. 


sa gbia. 


Sake of. 


va. 


Salt. 


kpQlQ (kpOlQi). 


Same. 


yakpe, se. 


Sand. 


ngafiga (hgahg^), ngah^ 




(ngany^). 


Saw, n. 


SQWi. 


Say. 


nde, le. 


Scatter. 


faya. 


Scent (perfume). 


ku yei. 


Scrape. 


gbenye. 


Sea. 


kpoye (kpoy^). 


Search. 


kokoU. 


Seat. 


he wuru (he wuri). 


See. 


to, do, lo. 


13 





194 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Seed. 


kale (kaU). 


Seek. 


kokoli. 


Sell. 


majia. 


Send. 


dewe, lO. 


Sense. 


nemdha. 


Separate. 


gole. 


Servant. 


boilOpO (boilOpOi). 


Set, V. 


hei. 


Settle a dispute. 


tewe. 


Sew. 


ho. 


Shake. 


jesia, jeji. 


Shallow. 


tetele. 


Sharp. 


yandingo. 


Shell, of an oyster, husk, 


ga (geO- 


empty snake skin, etc. 




Shirt. 


ndQma (1^6). 


Shoot. 


pili. 


and hit, i. e, piercQ. 


mbO. 


Short. 


kutu, kutungo. 


Shout, n. 


sole, sore. 


V. 


sore we. 


Show. 


ke. 


Show him. 


ke a ngie. 


Shut, V. 


lagbou. 


adj. 


lagboungo. 


Sick, to be. 


higbe. 


adj. 


higbengo. 


Side. 




Sing. 


ngulS, wulS. 


Sit. 


hei. 


Skin. 


kglo (koU). 


^^^' 


ng6l6 (ng6l6). 


Sleep. 


yi. 


Slowly. 


I5l5. 


Sma.ll. 


kulo, kulongo. 


Smell. 


ku (kui). 


sweet. 


kune. 


bad. 


ku nyamu. 


V. 


kui meni. • 


Smoke. 


nduli, luli. 


Sneeze. 


disc. 





VOCABUTiARIES 19 


So, thus. 


ni,hi. 


Soap. 


mbawa (rnbaw^), hega (heg^), 


Some. 


lenga. 


Song. 


ngulS, wuls. 


Soon, i, e, quickly. 


k&L 


Sow. 


hi. 


Speak. 


nde, yia le. 


Spend, money. 


majia. 


the day. 


luva. 


SpiU. 


pu, faya. 


Spirit. 


ngafa (ngaf^), yafa. 


Split, V, 


mbela. 


adj. 


mbelango. 


Spread. 


fOmbO. 


Sprout, V. 


kpgku. 


Squeeze. 


fonya. 


Stand. 


to. 


Star. 


dumbeka (dumbek^). 


Start. 


hije. 


Steal. 


huma. 


from. 


yahuma. 


Steer. 


gbi hou. 


Stick, n. 


nguru (nguri). 


walking-. 


tikpo (tikpoi). 


Still, adv. 


kpe. 


Sting. 


mho. 


Stone. 


kQtu (koti). 


Stop. 


kpele, kpe. 


end. 


gele. 


Story. 


dome (dom^). 


Straight. 


pona, ponango. 


Straighten. 


pona. 


Stranger. 


hota (hot6). 


Strength. 


kpaya (kpay6). 


Stretch. 


fOmbO. 


String. 


ngeya (yeyel). 


Strip, undress. 


magbia. 


leaves. 


mapOnje, magOmbo. 


Strong. 


gbayango. 


Stupid. 




Sugar. 


sugar. 



196 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Summit. 


ngumba. 


Sun. 


fOlQ,(fQli).. 


Surface. 


nga, ya. 


Surpass. 


tewe. 


Surround. 


bimbi. 


Swallow, V. 


gbole. 


Sweep. 


ngela, mayela. 


Sweet. 


ne, neingo. 


Swell, V. 


fe. 


Swim. 


lapi. 


Swing round. 


bimbi. 


Take. 


bumbu. 


Talk. 


njepe, yepe, yia le. 


Tall. 


gbiahungo. 


Taste. 


ko, go. 


Teach. 


ka, ga. 


Tear, V. 


mbela. 


Tell. 


nde. 


Thank, v. 


segbia. 


Thank you. 


bise. 


That. 


na. 


There. 


na, mia, miando. 


Thick. 


kpotu, kpotungo. 


Thin. 


teve, tevengo. 


Thing. 


hani, bo (boi). 


Think. 


gili, toye. 


Thirsty, my throat is dry. 


nya bolohui bengo. 


This. 


ji- 


Thorn. 


ngari. 


Throw. 


pill, will. 


Thrust in. 


ngua, wua, joso. 


Thus. 


ni. 


Tickle. 


tone, dote. 


Tightly. 


panda (properly), getete. 


Time. 


kpSle (kp5l6), kpS. 


Tire. 


gbowu. 


Tired. 


gbahS, gahu hango. 


Are you tired ? 


hi gbaha t 


To. 


See Prepositions. 


To-day. 


ha. 





VOOABUTiARlES l&H 


To-morrow. 


sina. 


Too. 


tunu. 


Top, the. 


imahui, ngumba. 


Touch. 


ja. 


Toward. 


gama, tenga. 


Town. 


ta (tei). 


Trap. 


mani. 


Travel. 


jia. 


Tree. 


ngulu (nguli), nguru (nguri). 


Trousers. 


here (bere). 


Truth. 


tonya. 


Try. 


ko, kolo. 


Turn. 


pQte, WQte. 


Twins. 


felanga. 


Twist. 


kpini. 


Umbrella. 


Tebele, nja-gbuwa (nja- 




gbuw6). 


Under. 


mbu. 


Understand. 


meni, hugo. 


Undress. 


magbia. 


Unexpectedly, to meet. kolama. 


Unfold. 


fQmbo. 


Unlike. 


gba. 


Unlucky, to be. 


ndovo. 


Unripe. 


kpgle, kpglengo. 


Untie. 


fulQ. 


Up. 


ma. 


Upon. 


ma, mahu. 


Uproot. 


pugbia. 


Useless. 


gbamafu. 


Valley. 


ngiye gombu (ngiye gombui). 


Valuable. 


ba gbango. 


Very. 


ka. 


Village. 


fula (ful6). 


Visit, V. 


va. 


Voica 


T^gQ (ngOi), WQ (wQi). 


Vomit. 


bali. 



Wait. 



mawulu. 



Ids 



THE MENDE LAlTGUAOE 



Wake. 


wu. 


Wa-lk. 


jia. 


Wall. 


kaka or kake (kakei) 


Want, V, 


longo a. 


War. 


ko (koi). 


Warm, v. 


kpandi. 


adj. 


kpandingo. 


Warn. 


lahl. 


Wash, clothes, plates. 


wua, wa. 


^. e. bathe. 


mua. 


Watch, V, 


man@, mahugbe. 


Water. 


nja (njel). 


Way. 


pele (peli). 


Wear clothes. 


yili. 


Weed, v., i, e. pull up weeds. 


kpiti gbia. 


Weep. 


wolo. 


Welcome, v. 


va. 


Well, water-hole. 


nja Iowa (nja low6). 


Well, adv. 


panda. 


West. 


kpundohd. 


Wet. 


deli, delingo. 


What? 


gbe? 


When? 


See Adverbs. 


Where? 


mi ? mindo ? 


Which? 


igb6? 


Whip. 


fOma (fQm6). 


White. 


kglS, kolengo, gogole. 


White man. 


pumo (pumoi). 


man's language. 


pu yia (pu yiei). 


Who? 


ye ? yo ? 


Whole, all. 


gbi, kpere. 


Why? 


gbeva ? 


Wicked. 


nyamu. 


Wife. 


nyaha (nyahei). 


Win, in a game, i, e, kill. 


pa. 


take the money. 


hou. 


Wind. 


fefe (fef6). 


Window. 


ndaome. 


Wine. 


ndo, 1q (loi). 


Wing. 


kpaki. 


Wipe (plates). 


huyela. 



VOCABULARIES 


Wise, he is. 


ngi nemdhti lengo. 


Witch. 


hQua (hon^). 


With. 


a. 


Within. 


hu, goha, bu. 


Without. 


See Prepositions. 


WomaD, wife. 


nyaha (nyahei). 
nyapO (nyapOi). 


unmarried girl. 


Wood. 


kgwu (kQwi). 


Word, speech. 


njia (njiei), yia (yiei). 


direction, order. 


layia (layiei). 


voice. 


ngO (ngOi). 


Work, n. 


ngenge (ngeng^), yenge. 


V, 


ngenge and ngenge wili, 


Workman. 


ngengemo (ngengemoi). 


pi (indef.). 


gengebra. 


World. 


ngelebu, ndgle gbi. 


Worm. 


bull 


Wrap up. 


bimbi. 


Wrestle. 


lapi. 


Write. 


nyegi. 


Wrong, to be. 


lele. 


Yard, enclosure. 


kat^hu. 


Year. 


fQ (fQi). 


Yes. 


1,5. 


Yesterday. 


gbenge, bengeme, gbL 


Yonder. 


miando, mia. 


Young man. 


ndakpalQ (ndakpalQi). 


Young of an animal. 


. . . iQi. 



199 



PART IV 

STOKIES 

Heading Materials 

I. 

Ths Spider and his Hungry Children. 



Kasiloi i ndenga le. 

Ndole gbo. 

I hiye lime go'ime dogboi 

hu. 
I li, i male. 
Sele gboungo. 
Fomamoi i hei lo sele gama. 

Kasiloi i ja sele. 

Fome i gbia. 

I ngi vogba. 

Kena i ngi vogba 

Kasiloi gbwenda. 

I yala a pime ngi lenga we. 

Ti me a kpindi na. 
Ngewonga i ngi nyahei 

gbe. 
Ngi nyahei i ya nye gbeme 

njei hu. 
Ye, kea bi nya gbe gS bi go. 

Ye, nga nye me lo. 
Ye, nya be gS bi go. 

Ke i ya. 

I ngi mayia ge a ngi kei. 
Ye, nga nyahei gbia lo bi 
yeya. 



The spider bore children. 

They were very hungry. 

He arose to go and gather food 

in the bush. 
He goes, he meets it. 
It was a ripe banana. 
A man with a whip sat at the 

banana. 
The spider touched the banana. 
The whip came out. 
It beat him. 
When it beat him 
The spider snatched (the fruit). 
He ran off with it to his children. 

(lit. He took it with running). 
They ate that night. 
At daylight he drove away his 

wife. 
His wife went to catch fish in 

the water. 
She said, If you drive me away 

I will not give you (some). 
He said, I will eat fish. 
She said, I certainly will not 

give you (any). 
And she went. 

She complained to her father. 
He said, I will take away your 

wife. 



Incomplete. 
200 



II. 



The Fate of the Mem who abandoned his Wife amd Child. 



Tamoi i ya wo. 

I nyahei jo. 

I koi bumbu. 

I ngi nyahei gbe. 

I li dogboi hu. 

I nyahei 1q. 

I ndQi de dogboi hu. 

Ti fere gbi 

Ta ngi loi i jia. 

Mehei gbl na ta me. * 

Ngi njei a li, 

A mboli gbia dogboi hu. 

I loi na bawoni. 

Ngi loi a lakpa. 

Ngewo i wa. 

I gbatenga dogboi hu. 

I ti male dogboi hu. 

Ngewo ye, 

Wa yo wu mbe ? 

Ye, ma nya njei. 

Ngewo i ho navoi ma. 

I fe tiye. 

Ngewo i li dogboi hu. 

Nyahei ngi loi i gbate 

dogboi hu. 
I gbia dogboi hu; 
A hite pe wai ma. 
Ke ta ngi kei ti gome. 
Ye, kia wq bi nya njei 

gbeni, 



A person went once upon a time. 

He took a wife. 

She conceived. 

He drove away his wife. 

She went to the bush. 

He left his wife. 

She bore a child in the bush. 

Both of them. 

She and her son they walk about. 

No food there for them to eat. 

His mother goes, 

She pulls up a yam in the bush. 

She preserved her child. 

Her child grows up. 

God comes. 

He was rich in the bush. 

He met them in the bush. 

God said, 

Who are you that are here 1 

(He answered) I and my mother. 

God took money. 

He gave it them. 

And God went away into the 

bush. 
The woman's son grew rich in 

the bush. 
He came out of the bush ; 
He reaches the high road. 
And he and his father they met. 
He said. Since you formerly 

drove away my mother, 
201 



202 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Nga bi wa lo. 

Ye, kia na ma bie mu longa, 

Nya be, gi bi houma, 

Gi bi wa. 

Ta wa ye, 

Ba nya ho. 

I ya i ngili ; 

I ngi ho ; 

I ngili; 

I mbowei bumbu ; 

I nda 'gi bole la ; 

Itg; 

I ha — ngi kei. 

Kele mia. 



I will kill you. 

He said, Since now you and I 

see each other, 
I also, I will catch you, 
I will kill you. 
Himself he said. 
Do not seize me. 
He went to tie him ; 
He caught him ; 
He bound him ; 
He took a knife ; 
He drew it across his throat ; 
He cut ; 
He died — ^his father (did). 

It is the end. 



III. 



The Fate of the Mem who cleared the Bush wlien told not to do so. 



Tamo yira i ya dogboi hu 
nduweme. 

Hawai ye, ba nduwe. 

(HHwai or Haniwai is a 
materialised spirit in- 
habiting the forest. 

Ye, nga duwe lo. 

Bi nduwenga lo 

Be mbei me. 

Ke ngelewo 

Ke i mbogbwei bumbua. 

Hawai ye ngima, 

Ba nduwe. 

Ye, nga nduwe lo. 

Ye, bi nduwinga lo 

Ye mbe gbi na bi me. 

Ke i ya dogboi ha ndu'iva. 

Ke i nduwia. 

Ke i gombui ; "j 

Ke i mbumbua ; / 

Ke i ye kpalehu ; 

Ke i gombui dga kpalema. 

Ke i kpalei moa. 

Ke i kali bumbua. 

Ke i ya, 

Ke i mbei wuli, 



A certain person went into the 
bush to clear (a piece of 
ground). 

The devil said, Do not clear. 



He said, I shall clear. 

(The devil said) If you clear 

You will not eat the food (lit. 

rice). 
And at daylight 
He took a cutlass. 
The devil said to him, 
Do not clear. 
He said, I shall clear. 
(The devil) said. If you clear 
There will be no rice there for 

you to eat. 
And he went into the bush to 

clear. 
And he cleared. 

And he took fire ; 

And he went to the farm ; 

And he put fire to the farm. 

And he burnt the farm. 

And he took a hoe. 

And he went. 

And he took rice (lit. draw as 

water), 
203 



204 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ke i mbei bumbua, 

Ke i ya kpaleha. 

Ke i ndea ngi nyahei ma, 

Ke ngi loi, 

Ye, wa be, 

Mu mbei bo. 

Ke ti punga ndoli ma, 

Ke ti ya pe bu. 

Ke ti yinga. 

NgSwa ti ya gbueila. 

Ye ti mbei bonga. 

Ye, kea ti mbei boa. 

Ke mbei gbia. 

Ke ti ya kpaleima 

Ti mbei l5. 

Ti nganga, 

Ke ti punga hambui ma, 

Ke i benga. 
Ke ti bumbua, 
Ti pu kQnde hu. 
Ye, kea ti pui kgnde hu ti 
hija. 

Ke ti gbia kgnde hti, 

Ke ti punga f e hu. 

Ke ti nginga, 

Ke ti gbia hu, 

Ke ti menga. 

Ke ti jango, 

Ke ti mbei menga, 

Ke ti ha. 

Ke nu wai i ndea, 

Ye, ji wo gi ndea. 

Kge, ba dogboi luwi ba ha 

lo. 
Ye, ta ji bi hanga. 



And he carried the rice, 

And he went to the farm 

And he said to his wife. 

And (to) her son, 

He said, Come here, 

Let us plant the rice. 

And they put it in the ground. 

And they went home. 

And they slept. 

At dawn they went to their farm- 
hut. 

He said they were to plant the 
rice. 

He said. When they had planted 
the rice they could go away. 

And the ears of rice appeared. 

And they went to the farm 

To cut the rice. 

They threshed it. 

And they put it on the drying- 
frame. 

And it dried. 

And they took it. 

They put it in the mortar. 

He said. When they put it in 
the mortar, they were to 
beat it. 

And they took it out of the 
mortar. 

And they put it in the pot. 

And they cooked it. 

And they took it out. 

And they ate it. 

And they three, 

They ate the rice, 

And they died. 

And the big man said, 

Saying, I told you before. 

I said, do not clear the bush (or) 
you will die. 

He said. Therefore you have died. 



STORIES 205 

Ye, nu ji mbe indea bima, He said, This person here told 

you, 
Ye ba ji we; Saying, Do not do this ; 

Bi penga lo, If you do it, 

Ba ha lo fe. You will surely die. 

Nu wai i ye ba ji pe, ba pe. If a big person says do not do 

this, do not do it. 

Igboyoai. It is finished. 

Mu kelema mia lo. Ditto. 



IV. 



The Devil who took a Hwrwom Wife. 



Haiwai i ya kom6 tei hu. 

Ke nyahei, i longa a ngie. 
Ye nga bia jolo. 
Ke i nyahei wumbu, 
Ke ti ya peli hii, 
Ke ngi loi. 
Ke ti ya dogboi hti. 
Ke ti ya tei hu. 
Haiwai a numu ma 
Nyahei na ke ngi loi ti ya 

dogboi ha. 
Haiwai ye, ngS bi me. 
Ye, nga bi jolo lo. 
A ngi bumbu i li pele bu. 

Ngelewo Haiwai ilipelima. 

I nunga lo, 

I ti ho, 

I ya a tie pele bu, 

Ngi nyahei S numui me. 

I U dogboi hu. 

I li, i htiei hou. 

I wala ngi nyahei we. 

Ngi nde wuli i hiya. 

I nde ngi ndei ma, 

Muli. 

Ke ti hijenga, 

Ke ti ya. 



The bush-devil went to a meeting 

in the town. 
And the woman, he liked her. 
He said, I will marry you. 
And he took the woman, 
And they went into the road, 
And her child (also). . 
And they went into the bush. 
And they went into the town. 
The devil eats man. 
That woman and her child went 

into the bush. 
The devil said, I will not eat you. 
He said, I will marry you. 
He t-akes her, he goes into the 

house. 
At daylight the devil goes into 

the road. 
He sees (some) people, 
He catches them. 
He took them home. 
His wife would not eat man. 
He went into the bush. 
He goes, he catches an animal. 
He brings it to his wife. 
Her little brother got up. 
He said to his sister. 
Let us go. 
And they got up, 
And they went. 
206 



STORIES 



207 



Haiwai i ngi nde wuH 

honga. 
Ye, bi li bi wala bi ndewe. 

I hiya, i li. 

I ngi ndewe male. 

I nde ngi ma, ye, 

Hiye mu li, 

Ke Haiwai i nde ngi mbi- 

lema, ye, 
Be li a nya nyahei gbindi. 

Ke ngelewa, ke ngi ndei 

ke i mbumbiia, 
Ke ti hitia peli hfl. 
Ke ti ya, 
Ke ti njei m^lenga, 

Njei ngolongo, 

Ke ti gele njei ma. 

Ke Haiwai i hiya. 

I tgnga ti ma p^li hCi, 

Ke i ti malenga, 

Ke i ya peli hfi, 

Ke i ndea tima, ye, 

W6H. 

Wa, a mu yama. 

Ta wa ye, bi nyaha joro wo, 

Ye, 5 gua ti wele. 

Ye na ngi nyaha g5lini wq. 

Ye, 5 gua ti wele 

Yeka njei i beli. 

Ye ke njei i gule mu gulo, 

Mu li ma nya ndewe, 

Ye mu gbi mu hite mu yei 
ma. 



The devil caught her little 

brother. 
He said, (xo and fetch your 

sister. 
He got up, he went. 
He met his sister. 
He said to him, saying. 
Get up, let us go. 
And the devil said to his brother- 
in-law, saying. 
You must not go with my wife 

to-night. 
And at daybreak her brother 

took her, 
And they reached the road. 
And they went. 
And they came to a river 

(water), 
A large (piece of) water, 
And they stopped at the water. 
And the devil got up. 
He followed them in the road, 
And he overtook them. 
And he came into the road, 
And he said to them, saying, 
You must not go. 
Come, let us return. 
Moreover he said, If you have 

married a wife. 
He said she cannot return home. 
He said, Now I have married a 

wife. 
He said, She must not return 

unto her country 
Until the water dries up. 
But (the other) said, May the 

water dry up in front of us. 
So that I and my sister may go 

on, 
He said, and that we may all 

reach our country. 



208 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ye gbe gombui i gula mu 

lua hU. 
Ke gombui i gula ti lua hu. 
Ke Haiwai i wotia i yama 

ngi weletahd. 

Ke i yama, 

Ke i ndea ngi loi ma, ye, 

Nunga wo ngi ti houni. 

Ye ti ya ti wetaha, ke nya 

ndopoi. 
Ke i ndea ngi kei ma, 
Ye, nga lilo. 
Ye, ngi w^ be nyaheina, 

ke bi lenga lo. 
Ke i ya i hite tei hu. 

Ke i ndea nyapui ma. 

Ye, nga wa ngi nde bima. 

Ye, mu yama. 

Ke i ndea ngima, ye, 

NgS wama. 

Ye, gbele? 

Ke Haiwai i wa, 

Ti ngi hounga, 

Ke ti bumbu. 

Ti ya peli hii, 

Ke ti yombui ngatea, 

Ke ti Haiwai hounga, 

Ke ti ngi ngilinga, 

Ke ti bumbu, 

Ke ti pilia ngombui ya, 

Ke i hanga. 



He said, Let fire fall between us. 

And fire fell between them. 

And the devil turned and re- 
turned to his own (lit. home) 
town. 

And he returned, 

And he said to his son, saying. 

The people I caught the other 
day, 

He said, they have gone back to 
their country with my boy. 

And he said to his father, 

He said I will go. 

He said, I bring the woman here, 
and your children. 

And he went, he arrived at the 
town. 

And he said to the girl. 

He said, I come to tell you, 

He said (that) we (must) return. 

And she said to him, saying, 

I shall not come. 

He said, What is the matter? 

And the devil came, 

(and) they caught him. 

And they took him. 

They went into the road, 

And they lit a fire, 

And they seized the devil. 

And they bound him, 

And they took him, 

And they threw him on the fire, 

And he died. 

End. 



V. 



The Twins and their Brother, 



Tamoi mia wo, 



I hiye i nyahei solo. 

I ndgi le fere. 

Felanga atie. 

Ti lakpa. 

Ke ti nde wuIqI f ela angle. 

I li kolo. 

Ti yei a mbe yili ; 

I kpia hu ; 

I pu peleti hu. 

Ti wa mbei mem a ; 

Ti mbei me ; 

Ti peleti ngulo. 

I nde ti ma, ye, 

Gbele? 

Ye, nga mbei yili we, 

Ke wa peleti wulo. 

Ye, wu ndewe i ya wo 

kolo. 
Ye, we li na. 
Ye, wa wa ngi. 
Ta va ye mu lima na. 

Ye mu wa angle. 
Toll 1 loi ngitiya. 
I veil ngi ma ; 
Ye, mu lima lo. 
Ye, toll gi nda be. 



Once upon a time there was a 

man, 
He arose, he married a woman. 
She bore two children. 
They were twins. 
They grew up. 
And their little brother was their 

senior. 
He went up country. 
Their mother cooks rice ; 
She takes it out ; 
She puts it into a plate. 
They come to eat rice ; 
They eat rice ; 
They break the plate. 
She said to them, saying, 
What is the matter ? 
That I cook the rice. 
And you break the plate. 
She said. Your brother has gone 

up country. 
She said. Suppose you go there. 
And you bring him. 
Accordingly he said, Let us go 

there. 
He said. Let us bring him. 
A kola tree stood outside. 
He said good-bye to her ; 
1 He said, We are going. 
He said. The kola I planted here. 



14 



^ Apparently one of the twins speaks for the two, 
209 



210 



THE MENDE LANGtTAGE 



Ye, { gbenda i gula ndome, He said, When it ripens and falls 

to the ground, 
Ye ke mua wama. He said, we will come back. 

Ke ti ya ti ndewe woma And they went after their 

brother 
Ke ti wala ti nje we. To bring him to their mother. 

Incomplete. 

NoTB. — Twins do not count. Their younger brother is 
reckoned their senior. The child born after twins is called 
"fela.^^ 



YI. 



The Boy who fell into a Hole, 



Tamoi mia wo. 

I hiye i nyahei solo. 

I ndoi le gboto. 

Ngi lenga ti lakpa. 

Moremo a ti lenga. 

Ti U dogboi hit 

Ti ndowe male foni hu. 

Ti ndewe ti wili dowei hu. 

Ti wama tei ha, 

Ti kei i ti moli, ye, 

Wu ndewe ta mindo % 

Te, i wa. 

Te, mti ngi loni. 

Ke ti kei i velia tima, ye, 

A li, nya ndiamoi gama 

kolo. 
Ti hiya, ti ya. 
Ngi ndiamoi i hiya kolo. 

Ta wama ngi ndiamoi 

gama. 
I gbia foni htl, 
Ye, nja gboli m^i lo nyama. 
I ndea ngi leng4 ma, ye, 
A li, wu nje wuli waki mbe. 



There was once a man. 

He got up, he married a wife. 

She bore many children. 

Her children grew up. 

Some of them were Mori ^ men. 

They went into the bush. 

They met a hole in the grass 

country. 
They threw their brother into 

the hole. 
When they came into the town, 
Their father asked them, saying, 
Where is your brother? 
They said. He is coming. 
They said, We have not seen him. 
And their father sent them off, 

saying, 
Gro to my friend up country. 

They got up and went. 
His friend started from up coun- 
try. 
He was coming to his friend. 

He came out of the grass country, 
He said, I want water to drink. 
He said to his children, saying. 
Go and bring a little water to me. 



^ Mori, corruption of Moor, means magician, or Arabic charm 
writer, etc. 

211 



212 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ke ngi lenga ke ti ya nja 

lowei me ( » ma), 
Ke ti nje ndowe hO, 

Ke ti nde wuli malia na 

dowei htl. 
Ke ti gey^i ke ti ngilia f e 

ngi bolui ma, 
Ke ti ndewe i f ei honga, 

Ke i vembia la. 

I hoa, 

Ke ti tenga ngiyema. 

Ke ti yama, 

Ke ti denga ti kei ma, te, 

Mu ndewe ji wo i wili dow6 

ha. 

Te, mu gbia ndow6 hii. 

Ke ti kei ngi yamai abwale. 

E nu lo. 

Ke ti hale ti gbia angie. 

Ti sia ngi yama, 

Ke i bawonga. 

Ke ngi kei nyahei jolonga. 

Ke ngi kei i ngi hounga. 

Eli. 

Ngombui i ngate. 

I nde nunga ma, ye, 

A wa mu nya loi hou, 

Mu lila. 

Mu pili ngombui hu. 

Ke ngi yei i ndenga ngi 

kei ma, ye, 
Bi nya l5i hoa, 
Ye bi panga. 
Ye nya be, ye, ngi hama. 
Ke i ya a pime. 



And his children went to a water 

hole, 
And they descended into the 

water hole, 
And they found their small 

brother there in the hole. 
And they tied a rope to the neck 

of a pot. 
And their brother caught the 

pot, 
And he caught hold of it. 
He held it. 

And they raised him to the edge. 
And they returned, 
And they told their father, say 

ing, 
This is our brother who threw 

himself into the hole. 
They said, We have pulled him 

out of the hole. 
And their father's eyes hurt. 
He saw no body. 
And they found medicine for 

him. 
They rubbed it on his eyes. 
And he was cured. 
And his father took his wife 

again. 
And his father caught him. 
He goes. 
He lit a fire. 

He said to the people, saying, 
Come let us catch my child. 
Let us take him. 
Let us throw him in the fire. 
And his mother said to his 

father, saying. 
You have caught my child. 
She said, if you kill him, 
She said, I too shall die. 
And she ran off. 



STORIES 213 

I njei maleuga. She came to the water. 

I wili njei hu. She threw herself into the water. 

I ha. She died. 

Ke ngi kei ke ta be i And his father he too arose. 

hiyenga. 

Ye nya be gi lima. He said, I too am going. 

Ye, ngi li gi lo njei hu. He said, I am going to put an 

end to myself in the water. 

I gboyoa. It is finished. 



YIl. 



The Boy stolen by a Devil, 



Nyapui i hiye. 

I hini joro. 

Ti ndgi de. 

HindQi hijia ngelewo, 

Ti li kpalel ma. 

I ndgi la, 

I hiye i li nguri gbua 

(gbia) me. 
Haiwai i wa, 
I ndopui mbumbu, 
I lila ngi wetahu. 
Ngi yei i wa gbwela ; 
I ndgi loni ; 
I wolo. 
I hiye, i li tei hu. 

I nde ngi hini ma, ye, 

Ngi ndgi loni. 

Ngi hini i hiye, 

I wa gbwe la. 

I kok'oi; 

I toni. 

Ti yama tei hu. 

Hawai a li dogboi hu ; 

A mehei bumbu, 

A wala ndoi we a me. 

I lakpa. 

Hawai i li. 

(Hawai gbatengo.) 

I hiye. 

NdOpgi i hiye i li. 



A woman got up. 

She married a husband. 

They bore children. 

The man rose early. 

They went to the farm. 

She laid down her child, 

She got up, she went to pull up 

sticks. 
A devil came, 
He took the child, 
He took it home. 
Its mother came to the hut ; 
She did not see the child ; 
She cries. 
She got up, she went into the 

town. 
She said to her husband, saying, 
I do not see the child. 
Her husband got up, 
He came to the hut. 
He looked for it ; 
He did not see it. 
They returned into the town. 
The devil goes into the bush ; 
He takes food, 

He brings it to the child to eat. 
It grew up. 
The devil goes. 
(The devil was rich.) 
He gets up. 

The boy gets up, he goes. 
214 



STORIES 



215 



Hawai i li pebu. 

Ndopoi i kul6 bumba. 

I nji bumbu. 

I hiye, i li ngi kei gama. 

Ta ngi kei ti lo. 

I nde ngi ma, ye, 

Hewa lo wo i ya ange 

dogboi hu. 
I nde ngi kei ma, ye, 
Mu li Hewai ngi wetei hii, 

Mu navOi bumbu. 

Ke ti ya sawa Hewai we 

ta wai hu. 
Ti li ti jango, 
Ti navoi bumbu. 
Ke Hawai i iQ tima. 
lU. 

Ti gbua pelagbame, 
Ti hei na. 
Ke ndOpOi i i^dea ngi kei 

ma, ye, 
Hewai ta wama. 
Ke Hewai i wa ; 
Ke i ndea ndopoi ma, ye, 
Gbwele, gbe nya navoi bi 

bumbu 1 
Ye, B6 lila. 

Ke ndopoi i hiya. 

I nde ngi kei ma, ye, 

Ali. 

Ye, ma Hewai mu lo, 

Ke ngi kei i ya ngi weta 

ha, 

Ke ndopoi ta hewai ti ya- 

ma Hewai wetahu. 
Ke Hewai i ndopoi honga, 
I ngua pebii. 
I pele gbo ngi ma. 
Ke kpindi i wa. 



The devil goes indoors. 

The boy takes a cloth. 

He takes a goat. 

He gets up, he goes to his father. 

He and his father saw each other. 

He said to him, saying, 

It was a devil who took me into 

the bush long ago. 
He said to his father, saying. 
Let us go to the devil's own 

town. 
And take away his money. 
And they three went to the 
' devil's house in the town. 
They went, they three, 
They took the money. 
And the devil followed them. 
He goes. 

They came out to the cross road. 
They sat down there. 
And the boy said to his father, 

saying, 
The devil is coming. 
And the devil came ; 
And he said to the boy, saying. 
Why have you taken my money 1 

He said, You must not take it 
away. 

And the boy got up. 

He said to his father. 

Go. 

He said, I and the devil remain. 

And his father went to his own 
town. 

And the boy and the devil re- 
turned to the deviFs town. 

And the devil caught the boy. 

He put him in the housa 

He shut him into the house. 

And night came. 



216 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ke ndgpOi i maluvinga a 

Hawai. 
I gbua i li ngi kei gama. 

I li ta ngi kei ti hiye ti K 
dogboi hu. 

Hale ji wo ngi kei vea ; 

I mbumbu ; 

I fengia 

Ti li pewai ma; 

Tihi. 

Ke nunga ke ti wa, 

Ke Hawai ke i hindoi hou. 

I pa, i mbumbu, 

I f e ngi Igi we. 

Ke ti hiya, 

Ke ti wa ti wetahu, 

Ke i ngilia, i mbumbu, 

I f e ngi ye. 

Ye, ngg me. 

Ke kpindi i welenga. 

Ke i gbua ngitiya. 

Ke hale gbwele i mbumbua. 

Ke i mbogbwe bumbua. 

I ya ngi kei gama ; 

Ke i wa pele bu ; 

Ke ngi kei nji hu ; 

Ke i ngi kei hoa ; 

Ke i ngi kei wanga. 

Ke i hiya i hitia peli hu. 

Ke i ndenga ngi ke lenga 

ma, 
A mu li 
Ke ti ya, 
Ke ti fonga. 
Ke i ngi kei malea, 



And the boy turned into a devil. 

He came out, he went to his 

father. 
He went, (and) he and his father 

they got up (and) they went 

into the bush. 
His father had given him this 

medicine of old; 
He took it; 
He gave it to him. 
They went to the road ; 
They sat down. 
And people came, 
And the devil caught a man. 
He killed him, he carried him, 
He gave him to his son. 
And they arose. 
And they came to their town. 
And he cooked him, (and) he 

took him. 
He gave to him. 
He said, I will not eat it. 
And night came. 
And he went out. 
And he took all the medicine. 
And he took a cutlass. 
He went to his father (the devil) ; 
And he came indoors ; 
And his father (devil) was asleep; 
And he seized his father ; 
And he killed his father. 
And he went (and) he reached 

the road. 
And he said to his father's chil- 
dren. 
Let us go. 
And they went. 
And they arrived. 
And he met his father (i. e. own 

father), 



STORIES 



217 



Ke i ndea ngi kei ma, 

Ye, Hawai wo ngi ngi pa. 

Ye, ngi leng4 lo. 

Ke i ndea ngi kei ma, ye, 

Ngi wai lo a hale. 

Ke kpindi wela. 

Ke ti wa pelebu, 

Ta ngi kei ti fere. 

Ke i hale gbua. 

Ke i henga. 

Kengikeiindeangima,ye, 

Hale ji bi wai la, 



Ye, mu kole. 

Ye, nya ndei ve. 

Ke ngi kei ngi ndei vea. 

Ke ti ya ngi kei we pebu. 



And he said to his father, 

Saying, I have killed the devil. 

And his children. 

And he said to his father, saying, 

I have brought the medicine. 

And night came. 

And they came into the house. 

He and his father, they two. 

And he took out the medicine. 

And he sat down. 

And his father said to him, saying. 

This medicine that you have 

brought, 
He said. Let us divide (it). 
He said, Give me my share. 
And his father gave him his. 
And they went to his father's 

house. 



VIII. 



The Woman who did not wish her Daughter to he Married, 



NyapOi mia wo, 
I ndoi leni. 
Ye, numu gbi e soro. 
NdakpalQi ye ga soro. 

Ye, numu gbi nya Igi jolo 
ke a pe lO koti ma. 

Ye, yiei ngi kulua. 

Ye ke nyahei fembe. 
Mame be ye, ngi kulua ; 
Ki i nyahei fe ngie. 
Ngelewo ke i mbowe bum- 

btia. 
I li dogboi hu. 
I nguri lewe, 
I wa nguri, 
I pu. 

I pele iQni. 
I male ngi yemoi i mbei 

yilia. 
Ye, bi lokoi wu fei hu bi 

manye gbia, 

Bi f ombe ngi me. 
Nyapoi ye sao. 
Ndakp'oi ye, ba na wi lo. 

Ye, nge pili. 

Ye, bi na wi lo ga bi mayia 
gelo. 

^ This is the equivalent to an 
a rock to put the posts in. 



There was once a woman. 
She bore a child. 

She said nobody shall marry her. 
The young man said, I will 

marry her. 
She said, Nobody shall marry my 

daughter except he can build 

a house on a rock.^ 
He said, I accept the condition 

(lit. saying). 
He said also, Give me the woman. 
The old woman also said, I agree 3 
And she gave the woman to him. 
At daybreak he took a cutlass. 

He goes into the bush. 

He cuts sticks. 

He brings the sticks, 

He lays them down. 

He did not build the house. 

Ho found his mother-in-law 
cooking rice. 

He said. Put your hand into the 
pot (and) bring out the deli- 
cacies (from the bottom). 

Give them to me to eat. 

The woman said. No. 

The young man said. You must 
do that. 

She said, I cannot. 

He said. Do that, or I will make 
a complaint against you. 

impossibility, as holes cannot be dug in 
218 



STORIES 



219 



Ye nya Igi va ngi nya loko 

wu mba gbwandi hu, 
Ye, nga pili. 
Ndakpo'i ye ba pilo. 

Ke i ya i ngi mayia ge. 

Ti tewe. 

Ti ndakpaloi lemu. 

Nyapoi i jelisia molia, ye, 
gbe va ngi nde joni ? 

Mahanga kpele ti li ti wu 

tema. 
Te, hani fa mu na weni, 

te mu ya gama loi wo, 

Ngiye bi yakpei bi ji wilia. 

Tg numu gbi bi ndg le 

numu hani gbl fa be, 



Ke ta pe \q kotu ma. 
Te ji na dakpaloi kabande 
i gula bi ya. 

Ke bi loi fe ngi ye i lila. 

Ke i ndgi fenga. 

Ta yakpei i longa heini. 

Ndakpaloi be i "pe loi kotui 

ma. 
Nyapoi be i ngi loko wuai 

mbei bu, 
A kpia a fe ngi mbele we. 

I li i hei na gbwama fu 
ikelemei. 



She said. For the sake of my child 

to put my hand in the hot rice, 
She said, I will not do so. 
The young man said, You shall 

do so. 
And he went to make his accusa- 
tion. 
They decide. 
They give the case in favour of 

the young man. 
The woman asked the judges, 

saying, "Wherein was I wrong 1 

(lit. Why did I get the He 1) 
All the chiefs they go, they 

debate. 
They said. We did that, because, 

they said, we have never seen 

such a case before. 
Until you did this. 
They said, Nobody who has ever 

borne a child has made such a 

condition that no man shall 

get her. 
Except he build a house on a rock. 
They said. See how the young 

man has put you into the 

wrong. 
So give him your daughter and 

let him take her away. 
And she gave her daughter. 
She remained sitting there alone. 
And the young man did not build 

the house on the rock. 
The woman also did not put her 

hand in under the rice. 
To take something out and give 

it to her son-in-law. 
She goes, she sits down there, 

having gained nothing. 
The end. 



IX. 



The Spider and the Maggot, 



Kasiloi ke bawe. 
Kasiloi i kpale la, 
Ke bawe be i gbale la. 

Kasiloi i nunga longa, 
Ye, ti li ti ngi yenge wili. 

Ke bawe i gbia, 

Ke i nunga longa, 

Ye, a mu li mu nya yenge 

wili. 
Bawe ye siloi leng^ ma, ye, 

"Wa yenge siloi we. 
Kasiloi na ye gbol! lo kohu. 

Ye, bia bi lini silo i yen- 

geme. 
Ye, b§ mehe nene me. 

Ye, a mu li mu yenge we. 
Ga wu go lo a mehe neni. 
Ke ngelewonga, 
Ke ti ya bawe yengeme. 

Ke bawe ngi nyanga 

Ke ti mbei yilia gengebra 

we. 
Ndahani gbi ta pu bei ma. 



The spider and the maggot. 
The spider laid out a farm, 
And the maggot too laid out a 

farm. 
The spider sent men. 
Saying, they were to go and do his 

work. 
And the maggot went out, 
And he sent people. 
Saying, Let us go and do my 

work. 
The maggot said to the spider's 

labourers (lit. children), 
Do not work for the spider. 
That spider has only dirt in his 

belly. 
He said. If you go and work for 

the spider. 
He said, you will not eat nice 

food. 
He said, Let us go and work. 
I will give you nice food. 
And when daylight came, 
(And) they went to work for the 

maggot. 
And the maggot's wives 
Cooked rice for the labourers. 

There was no meat to put on the 

rice. 
220 



STORIES 



221 



Ke bawe nyahangesia ti ngi 

iQlinga, 
Tg, mu mbei yilinga nge- 

ngebela we, 
Ee hani gbi ma. 
Ye a fe hei ngombui ya. 
Ke fe i gbwande kaka 

igbowu.^ 
Bawe ye ngi nyanga ma a 

nya wi f ei btl. 
Ke ti ngi wilia fe gbande 

bti. 
Ta ngi wote, 
Ngi wului i gbia gboto. 
I fe wai na lave kpa ke 

14di na. 

Ti ngengebela loli, ti wa. 
Ke bawe vulunga ti pu 

mbei ma. 
Ngengebla ti me. 
Bawe i hani. 

Ngengebra ke ti ngi lato. 
Ke sHoi be ke i ndea ge- 

ngeb'ra ma, ye, 
A mu li nya kpSe, 
Ma yenge pi lo ; kea kpwa- 

we i peni, 
Ye, ga pe lo. 
Ke ngengebra ti ya ngiye 

kpama. 
Kagoloi ngi nyanga 
Ke ti mbei yilia ; 
Ndahani gbi ma. 
Ke ti siloi lolea, 
Te, wa mbei gama. 
Ke ngengebra ti me. 
Ke hani gbi ma. 
Ye, a f e he nga. 



And the maggot's wives called 

him, 
Saying, We have cooked rice for 

the labourers, 
And there is nothing on it. 
He said, Put the pot on the fire. 
And the pot got very hot (until) 

it boiled over. 
The maggot said to his wives. 

Throw me into the pot. 
And they threw him into the hot 

pot. 
They turn him, 

(So that) his fat came out plenty. 
He filled that big pot completely 

with his fat {Iddi = lard — an 

adopted word). 
They call the labourers, they come. 
And the maggot was alive, and 

they put him back on the rice. 
The labourers ate. 
The maggot did not die. 
And the labourers praised him. 
And the spider also said to the 

labourers, saying, 
Let us go to my farm. 
We will work; as the maggot 

did. 
He said, so will I do. 
And the labourers went to him 

to the farm. 
The spider's wives 
Cooked rice; 
There was no meat on it. 
And they called the spider, 
Saying, Come to the rice. 
And the labourers ate. 
And there was nothing on it. 
He said. Put the pot on. 



^ Same as ripening of fruit. 



222 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ke ti fei henga. 
Ke fei gbwandinga. 
Ye ngi nyanga ma, 
Nya fei gbwandi h\i. 
Ke ngi nyanga ti ngi wilia 

fe gbwandi hu. 
Ke ngi yongolui gewia 

(gewo). 
Ke i gbua fei htl. 
Ke i yili gulanga. 

Ke i ngengebra Iglinga. 
Hani gbi mbei ma ta me. 

Ke ti ngi yelea, ts, 
Be ge, hind6 bawe a pi ba 
pi lo. 

T6, bi bele nyania. 

Ke bawe ta ngi wili fe 

gbwandi hu, 
Ngi wuli i gbia lo, 
I fei ve kpa. 
Ke ngengebra ti me ; 
Ti goi ve, 
Ke ti ya tei hu. 

Ke kasiloi gbele nyania. 



And they put the pot on. 

And the pot got hot. 

He said to his wives, 

My pot is hot. 

And his wives threw him into 

the hot pot. 
And his teeth burnt. 

And he made dirt in the pot. 
And he screamed out (dropped 

lit.) a yell. 
And he called the labourers. 
There was nothing on the rice for 

them to eat. 
And they laughed at him, saying, 
You said the other day that 

what the maggot did you 

would do. 
They said. Your reputation is 

spoiled. 
But the maggot whom they threw 

into the hot pot. 
His fat came out, 
(And) he filled the pot completely. 
And the labourers ate ; 
They filled their bellies. 
And they went home (lit. into 

the town). 
But the spider's reputation was 

spoilt. 



The Spider and the Bush Goat. 



Kasiloi mia wo ; 

I ndenga leni. 

Twa wuli i ndenga le 

gboto. 
Kasiloi ke i kpae la. 
Twa wuli i kpae la. 
Mehe gbi na a pu kpalei 

hu. 
Kasiloi be i kpae la. 
Mehe gbi na a pu kpae 

hu. 
Twa wuli lenga ti jijiama 

dogboi hii, 
Ke ti ya ti guwe male. 

Mehe yingoi (= yilingoi) 

ngQwi ya gbi. 
Ke ti yama, dole tima, ti 

yetaha. 
Ke ti ndenga ti kei ma, 
T6, mu ya dogboi hu, 
Mu ya; 
Mu mba yingoi lo nga ngg- 

we hii. 
Ke ti kei i ndea tima, ye, 

Ngelewo sina mu li na. 

Ti yi gbue. 

Ngelewo ke ti ya na bei 
gama nguwe hu. 



There was once a spider ; 

He bore children. 

The bush goat bore many 

children. 
The spider laid out a farm. 
The bush goat laid out a farm. 
There was no rice to plant in the 

farm. 
The spider also laid out a farm. 
There was no rice to plant in the 

farm. 
The bush goat's children walked 

about in the bush, 
And they went and came across 

a silk cotton tree. 
There was cooked food at the 

very top of the cotton tree. 
And they returned, hungry, to 

their home. 
And they said to their father, 
Saying, We went into the bush. 
We went ; 
We saw cooked rice in the cotton 

tree. 
And their father said to them, 

saying. 
At daybreak to-morrow we go 

there. 
They slept that night. 
At daybreak they went there to 

the rice in the cotton tree. 
223 



224 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ke ti ya. 

Ke ti hitia bei ma ; 

Dole tima. 

Ts, ma ye pe mu mbei ji 

me? 
Ke ngaf e i yia nguri hu, ye, 

"Wu yia, wu pe, wu mbei ji 

me. 
Ye foma i ye na, 
I la mbei na mahu. 
Ndewe yira mia, 
Ke mbei na ta ngi menga. 
Ke twa wuli na i ndea 

mbei ma, 
Ye, mbei na mia 1 
Bi hei guri hu ! 
Wa bi nya IS yira, 
Gi bi me. 

Ke mbei na i yenga ; 
I ngi vogba ; 
I gula ndome. 
Lo woita i bumbu dome, 

Ke i ngi mbei venga, 
Ke i yala ngi yetahu. 

Kasilo'i ke i mbei ji longa. 
Ke i twa wuli molia, ye, 

Bi mbei ji joi mi lo? 

Ye, ngi mbei ji loni dogboi 

hu nguwe wai hu. 
Ye, na ge ange nya be gi 

mba me. 
Twa wuli ye ngi ma, 
A mu li ngelewo. 
Ke ti yinga. 
Ngelewa, ke ti ya dogboi 

hii mbei gama. 
Kasiloi ke i mbei longa. 



And they went. 

And they reached the rice ; 

They were hungry. 

(And) they said. How can we 

arrange to eat this rice ? 
And the spirit spoke in the tree, 
' saying. 
You talk about what you must 

do to eat this rice. 
He said, A whip is there. 
It lies on the top of that rice. 
It is one cut, 

And that rice can be eaten. 
And the (lit. that) bush goat said 

to the rice. 
Saying, You rice there ! 
That are sitting in the tree ! 
Come and beat me once, 
So that I may eat you. 
And the rice came down ; 
It thrashed him ; 
He fell to the ground. 
Six days (later) he picked himself 

up from the ground, 
And he gave him his rice. 
And he took it away home (lit. 

home, town, inside). 
And the spider saw this rice. 
And he asked the bush goat, 

saying, 
Where did you get this rice ? 
He said, I saw this rice in the 

bush in the big cotton tree. 
He said, Now show me (so that) 

I too may eat rice. 
The bush goat said to him, 
Let us go at daylight. 
And they slept. 
At daybreak they went into the 

bush to the rice. 
And the spider saw the rice. 



STORIES 



225 



I twa wuli moli ye, 

Ba ye pe ge ba mbei ji 

me? 
Ye, mbei na mia gi li na 

yira gQw6 na hti. 

Ngafei lo, ngi wq mia 

a mbei na. 
Ye, bia bi mbei na me. 

Ye, bi f omesia loma ? 
Ye, 1. 

Ye, nde yira i ye lo na. 
Ye, ndg pu i ye lo na. 
Ye, ndS nu fere gboyongo 

i ye lo na. 
Ye, ndg nu sawa gboyongo 

i ye lo na. 
Ye, nds nu lolu gboyongo 

i ye lo na. 
Kasilgi ye, hindolgi ange 

nya yakpei va. 
Ye, nya longo a ndg nu 

lolu gboyongo mba galui 

va. 
KasilO'i ye, mbei na mia ! 
Bi heini ngQwe na hu, 

Wa bi nya lewe numu lolu 

gboyongo, 
Gi bi me. 
Mu nya lenga gbwele mu 

go i ve. 
Ke mbei i yenga i ngi lewe 

yira. 
Ke i gula ndome. 
Nika nani ba galui ta mia 

i ngi leweni 

I ngi lewe i gula ndome. 
15 



He asked the bush goat, saying. 

How did you manage the other 
day to eat this rice ? 

He said, (As to) that rice over 
there, I went there once to 
that cotton tree. 

It is a devil, (and) that rice be- 
longs to him. 

He said. You who eat the 
rice. 

He said, do you see the whips 1 

He said, Yes. 

He said. One cut is there. 

He said. Ten cuts are there. 

He said. Forty cuts are there. 

He said. Sixty cuts are there. 

He said. One hundred cuts are 

there. 
The spider said, I am a man 

myself. 
He said, I am willing (to take) a 

hundred cuts for a bowl of 

rice. 
The spider said. You rice there ! 
Who are sitting in that cotton 

tree. 
Come and give me a hundred cuts. 

And I will eat you. 

It will fill mine and all my 

children's bellies. 
And the rice came down and gave 

him one cut. 
And he fell to the ground. 
It beat him terribly (lit. as big 

as a dish to hold rice and four 

cows). 
It beat him ; he fell to the 

ground. 



226 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

I Iq i ngi lema. It left off beating him. 

I gu a f yira For a whole year (lit. it reached 

one year) 

I mbei meni. He ate no food (lit. rice). 

Ke ndole i ngi wa. And hunger killed him. 

Kelemei. The' End. 



XI. 

The Okro Tree. 



NyapOi mia wo, 
I ndQi le. 

Ngi iQi nyandengo wa. 
Ngi Igi i nyalgi. 
Ye numu gbi e soro. 

Ke i bonde henga. 
Bondo wuli ke i w5lQa. 
Ke bonde ke i wa. 
Numu gbi S bonde me. 
Bonde nyapgi wele woma. 

KqIi i bondo wuK hu. 

NyapOi ye nya l^i ngi nde- 

ni. 
Numu gbi a bi solo, 
Ke i nya bondo wuli ji wo. 

Ke numu yira i wa ; 
Hota lakpalgi angie. 
Ye, bi bi Igi vembe. 
Ye, nga bi bondo wuli ji 

wo lo. 
Ke i kgni vea ngiye. 
Ta nyahei ti yi lailo. 

Ngelewo i mbogbwe wu- 

mbu, 
T kgni wumbu, 



There was once a woman, 

She bore a child. 

Her child was very beautiful. 

Her child was a girl. 

She said, Nobody shall marry 

her. 
And she planted the okro tree. 
And the okro tree grew big. 
And the okro fruit came also. 
Nobody could eat the okro. 
The okro was behind the woman's 

house. 
There was a snail in the okro 

tree. 
The woman said, I have borne 

the child. 
Nobody shall marry you, 
Except he cut down this my okro 

tree. 
And one man came ; 
He was a stranger. 
He said, Give me your child. 
He said, I will cut down this 

okro tree of yours. 
And she gave him an axe. 
He and the girl lay down to 

sleep. 
At daybreak he took the cutlass, 

He took the axe, 



228 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



I ya bondo wuli wome. 

I po ka ka. 

I nguli gobu gbia. 

I ye kine gulama, 

Ke kgli ji i jia guli wome, 

Ke nguli i yama, 

110; 

£ gulani. 

Kdakpalgi na i nguli wo 

fgpu; 
Nguli g gula. 
Ke i lowua, 
Ke i ya ti yei ; 

I gbaha guli ma. 

Ke numu yira ke i wa. 

Ye, nga nguri ji wo lo gi 

kul4. 
Numu gboto ta nguli ji wo 

ta gbaba ma. 
Ke ndakpalgi yira tei ji 

bu yafango. 

Ke i ndea ndakpalgima ye, 

Nyaba yira i gele nyahei 

ji ma. 
Ye, gbe nyahei ji hinda ma. 

Ye, ga bi go lo a nyaba. 

NdakpalQi be ye sao. 
Ye, nyabei ji ta bondo wuli 
ji wo ngi w5ma. 

Ye, nga ye nyabei ji lo 

soro? 
Ke i ya nyapgi gama 
Ngi wQ a ndoi. 



He went to cut down tbe okro 

tree. 
He cut bard. 

He took out tbe tree's inside. 
It was nearly falling. 
But tbis snail it walked down 

tbe back of tbe tree, 
And tbe tree was restored. 
It stood ; 
It did not fall. 
Tbat young man cut at tbe tree 

for ten years ; 
^rbe tree did not fall. 
And be bid bimself , 
And went to bis (lit. their) 

country ; 
He was tired of tbe tree. 
And another person came. 
He said, I will cut tbis tree and 

fell it. 
Plenty of people cut at tbis tree 

(until) they were tired. 
But there was one young man 

in this town who was a tale- 
bearer. 
And he said to tbe young man, 

saying, 
Tbis is not tbe only woman. 

He said. Leave tbis woman's 

affairs alone. 
He said, I will give you a 

wife. 
But the young man said. No. 
He said, Tbis woman and tbis 

okro tree it is tbat I am 

after. 
He said. How can I manage to 

marry tbis woman ? 
And he went to tbe woman 
Whose was tbe child. 



STORIES 



229 



Ye, ngi wa ngi bi Igi jolo. 

Ye, kulongo le. 

Ye ke, nyalgi ji nu gbi 

a bi soro. 
Ye bg nya go a navo fa, 

Bi nya bondo wuli wo. 

Ye ngi kurua. 

Ngelewo ti kgni ve ngi ye. 

Ti kpe mbogbwe ma. 
I li nguli wome. 
I luva poma kpeng. 
I ye kine guldma. 
Ke kgli ji i jia gull ma, 

Ke nguli i yama, 

IlQ. 

Ndakpoi be i yiani. 

Mbogwe ke koni ke i ndowa 

bondo wuli bu. 
Ke i ya, 

I nde ngi yemoi ma, 
Ye, ngi nguli wonga, 
Ke kgli ji i jia nguli ma, 

Nguli g gulani. 

Ke ti ya kpokoi, 

Ke ti la ta ngi nyahei. 

Ke i ngi nyahei molin. 

Ye, bi longo ange 1 

Nyahei ye, I. 

Ye, nya longo abie. 

Ye ke pili ngi bondo wuli 

guU. 
Ye ngi kurua. 



He said, I come to marry your 

daughter. 
She said. All right. 
She said also, This my daughter, 

anybody can marry you. 
She said. You must not give 

me money for her, 
But you must cut down my okro 

tree. 
He said, I accept (the condition). 
At daybreak they gave him the 

axe. 
They add the cutlass. 
He goes to cut down the tree. 
Ho spent all day cutting. 
It was nearly falling. 
But this snail walked over the 

tree. 
And the tree returned, 
It stood. 
But the young man did not 



He hid the cutlass and the axe 

under the okro tree. 
And he went. 

He said to his mother-in-law. 
Saying, I cut the tree, 
But this snail walked over the 

tree, 
(And) the tree did not fall. 
And they went at evening. 
And they lay down, he and bis 

(intended) wife. 
And he asked his (intended) 

wife, 
Saying, Do you like me 1 
The woman said, Yes. 
She said, I like you. 
He said, Then make me able to 

throw down the okro tree. 
She said, I agree. 



230 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ye nga pe bi nguli gula. 

Ye hani fa gi ji wllima bi 

ye 
Ngi nya longo abie fa mia. 
Ye, yi bondo wuli wu 

toma. 
Ye, nu bia ba po, 

Ye, ba po a kgnu. 

Ye, miji bumbu bi pola. 

Bi ho yeya ni. 

Ye bi kpakpa ma yira. 

Ye, bi ndi( = nde), be, kulo ! 

bondo 1 abie ! 
Ye, bi wa bi la. 

Ye, ba lo lai ji hu lo ke 
nguli i gula. 

Ke ngelewa. 

Ndakpaloi i miji bumbu, 

I ho yeya, 

Hi. 

I nde guli ma, 

Ye, Bondo I kglo ! abie ! 

I miji kpakpa nguli ma. 

I hiye na, 

Hi, 

I la, 

lyi. 

Ho, 

I lai lo ji hu. 

Ke nguli i gula. 

Ke na i gboyoa a ngi ndel 

na. 
Ngelewo ndakpalQi ye nya- 

pQima, 



She said, I will make you able 

to throw down this tree. 
She said. The reason I do this 

for you 
Is that I like you. 
She said. It is my mother's okro 

tree you are looking at. 
She said. If you are going to cut 

it down. 
She said, you will not cut it 

with an axe. 
She said. Take a needle to cut it. 
You hold it in your hand so. 
She said. You hammer on it 

once. 
She said. You say, saying, Snail 

and okro ! you ! 
She said, (Then) come and lie 

down. 
She said. You will go and lie 

down to sleep, and the tree 

falls. 
And day dawned. 
The young man took the needle, 
He held it in his hand, 
He went. 

He said to the tree, . 
Saying, Okro ! snail ! you ! 
He stuck the needle into the 

tree. 
He arose thence. 
He went, 
He lay down. 
He slept. 
He left it. 

He lay down to sleep. 
And the tree fell. 
And now he finished his own 

part. 
At daybreak the young man said 

to the woman. 



STORIES 231 

Ye nya nyahei ve. Give me my wife. 

Ngelewo nyapgi i ngi At daybreak the woman gave 

nyabei ve. him his wife. 

Ke nyapQi ke i yinga a And the woman went down to 

njei. the river (i.e. to drown herself). , 

Ndakpalgi na i nyahei na The (lit. that) young man took ' 

bumbua, the woman, 

I lila ti ye. He took her away to his (lit. their) 

country. 

I gbate, He grew rich, 

Ngi low6 i gu ndohu gbi. His fame reached every country. 

Domei gboyoa. The story is finished. 



XII. 



Tlw Race between tlie Deer and the Snail, 



Dope mia wo. 

Ta kgli ti mawSli honi. 

K9I1 ye, 

Nga wime gi le ndopema. 

Dope ye, 

Nga wime gi le kOlTma. 

Ke ti mawS.li honga. 

Dope Dginda bondesia ke 

ti navoi yandoa. 
Ke kgli be, 
Ke nginda wongesia 
Ke ti navoi yandoa. 
Ti navoi yando kuhama 

polon. 
Ji pele hii woita na mia. 
Ti li ti navoi gando na. 

Mahanga kpele ti li, 

Ti hei na. 

Ke kgli i jia ngi wonga 

kpele mahu. 
Ye, ma ndopa mu mawale 

honga. 
Ye, na mawue mu gbi lo 

nde ma, 
Ke a nya bo, 
Mu li mu navoi ji me. 

Ke kgli wonga kpele ke 

ti lumd. 
Te, ke ji na bi wa mu gama, 



There was once a deer. 

He and the snail made a bet. 

The snail said, 

I can run faster than the deer. 

The deer said, 

I can run faster than the snail. 

And they made a bet. 

The deer's own people collected 

the money. 
And the snail too, 
His own relations 
Collected the money. 
They collected the money in a 

far place. 
It was six days' journey. 
They go, they bring the money 

there. 
All the chiefs go, 
They sit there. 
And the snail travels to all his 

relations one after the other. 
He said, I and a deer have 

made a bet. 
He said. Now I and you we are 

all brothers, 
And you must help me, 
So that we go and win this 

money. 
And all the snail's relations 

agreed. 
They said. You come to us now, 
232 



STORIES 



233 



Ma yepe, 

Ke ji dope ta a wime 

I Is muma. 

Wa ta wu mawali houDga. 

Ye, na wu toma — 

Ye, ma ndopa mu mawali 

honga ; 
Ye, kia mue gu a wimela 

a mu yala hQ-gbate. 
Tamia ma gu ndop6 ma, 
Tamia mu mawali a gula 

dop6 ma. 
Teke, 
Ma ye pe na mawali ji 

i gula? 
Ye, na wu toma — 
Ye, ma ta mu mu mawali 

honi. 
Ye, nya gi kongo 
Kia nga yale ji gula gi gu 

ndope ma. 
Te ke mu kulua. 
Ye, ngewa sina. 
Ye, wu gbi a wa nya gama. 
Ke ngelewa kolisia gbi ti 

ndoha 
Ke ti wa ti mbai gama. 
I ngi mbaisia lowu pelebu. 
I li, a ti lekpe pelehQ 

Ji woita wel6 nahu : 

I li, a ti lekpe na 

I fO fa navQi gama. 

I yela lowu kawoli hu te 
gbelanga. 

Ke ngelewonga. 

Dope ta kpOwango ; 

Nemdbu gbina. 

Ke i wa kgli gama. 

Ye, mabia ma mawali ho- 
nga. 



And what are we to do. 

For when the deer runs 

He passes us. 

You and he have made the bet. 

He said. You see now — 

He said, I and the deer have 

made the bet; 
He said. As we cannot run we 

must devise a trick. 
So we shall overreach the deer, 
And the deer will lose the bet. 

And they said. 

How now can we manage to win 

the bet? 
He said, you see now — 
He said, I and he made the bet. 

He said, / know 

How to do this trick on the deer. 

And they said we agree. 
He said. At daybreak to-morrow. 
He said, you all come to me. 
And at daybreak all the snails 

in the country 
Came to their companion. 
He hid his friends in the road. 
He goes, he puts them one by 

one in the road 
For six days in that road : 
He goes, he arranges them there 
Until he reaches the money. 
He hides one in the rubbish hole 

close to the town. 
And daylight came. 
The deer was a fool ; 
He had no sense. 
And he came to the snail. 
He said, I and you have made a 

bet. 



234 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Migbe na mu li na 
Mu navoi gama 1 
Koli ye ndope, ye, 
Ba me nyama. 
Dopa wa ye koli, ye, 

Bi guma a jiala. 

Be, mua biamu mawalihou. 

Ye, nya mawali a gula lo 

bima. 
Ye, migbe na mu li ? 
Ye, lo woita. 
Ye ke mu li navgi gama. 

Ye kgli, ye, 

Bia yese bi hitia navoi 

gama. 
Ye ke bi wongd gbele ti 

batea. 
Bi navQi bumbu bi la, 
Kebi mawali i gula nyama. 
Ke kgli be ke i ndea ndope 

ma, 
Ye, bia yese bi hugba li 

navoi gama, 
Ke bi mawali i gula nyama ; 
Bi navoi bumbu, 
Wa bi wonga kpele, 
Ke wu gbatea. 
Bi navoi wumbu bi me. 
Ke ngelewa. 

Ke ndope i wa kgli gama. 
Ye kpli, ye, 
Mu li na-oh. 
KqIi ye dopema, ye, 
Bia yese I9 kulo bia li. 
Dop6 ye kgli ma, 
Ye, sao. 
Ye, ba me nyama. 



"When do we go now 

For our money 1 

The snail said to the deer, saying, 

You will not beat me. 

The deer himself said to the snail, 

saying, 
You cannot walk. 
You said, however, You would 

make a bet with me. 
He said, You will lose the bet. 

He said, When now do we go 1 
(The snail) He said, In six days, 
He said also, we shall go for the 

money. 
(The deer) said to the snail, 

saying, 
If you reach the money first. 

He said, All your relations are 

made rich. 
Take the money you put down, 
And you will win the bet. 
And the snail too said to the 

deer, 
Saying, You go first to the 

money, 
And you will win the bet; 
Take your money. 
Bring all your relations. 
And you will (all) be rich. 
Take up the money and spend it. 
And day dawned. 
And the deer came to the snail, 
He said to the snail, saying, 
Let us go. 

The snail said to the deer, saying, 
Stand in front of me and go first. 
The deer said to the snail, 
Saying, No. 
He said, Do not follow me, 



STORIES 



235 



Bg gu a jiala. 

KqU ye, gi kulua. 

Ke ti jiei Igtoa. 

Ke ndop6 i longa kulo. 

I wime ka. 

I gbia ke Kumasi nyoko. 

Ke i kQli malea ngi gulo. 

Ke i kgli molia, ye, 
Bia ha 

Gi bi longa nya woma, 
Tamia bi bia mbe nya gulo. 

Ye, nge ya be hugba li. 
Ke kpli be ke i jia, 

lya, 

Ke i lowua. 

Dop6 na ke i wa, 

Ke i lia koli ye na ma. 

I li a pime polon gboma. 

Kia wo i lini a wime kaka. 

Kgli ye na ngi mbai 

I ngi lowui kawalehu, 

Ke i gbia, 

Ke i ya navQi gama. 

Dop6 i Iq pOma, 

Ke kgli yese i fga navpi 

ma, 
Ke mawali i gula dop6 ma. 
Ke kgli i navQ wai na 

kpele bumbiia. 
Ke ndope fulenga, 
Te ndop6, te, 
KqII mawali i gula bima. 
Te, bi navgi ji jolo. 

Te, bia ba wime, 
KqU ta 1 gu a jiala. 



You cannot walk. 

The snail said, I agree. 

And they started their journey. 

And the deer stood in front. 

He ran hard. 

He came out as it were as far as 

Kumasi. 
And he met the snail ahead of 

him. 
And he asked the snail, saying. 
Just now 

It was you I saw behind me, 
^Nevertheless here you are in 

front of me. 
He said, I am not hurrying. 
And the snail too he walked off. 
He went. 
And he hid. 
And the deer came, 
And he went on to the other 

snail. 
He ran on far again. 
As before he ran hard. 
The other snail, whom his 
Friend hid in the rubbish hole. 
Came out. 

And went to the money. 
The deer was (lit. stood) behind, 
And the snail reached the money 

first. 
And the deer lost the bet. 
And the snail took all that large 

sum of money. 
And the deer reached there. 
They said to the deer, saying, 
The snail has won the bet. 
They said, You should have got 

this money. 
They said, You can run, 
(But) the snail himself cannot 

run. 



236 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

Wa ta wu jia mawali hou- You and he bet on your walking ; 

nga; 
Mawali i gula bima ; You lost ; 

Te, bS ya navoi ji jo. They said, You did not get this 

money. 
Ti ndewe, They beat him, 

Te, bi hawa wilenga. They said, You were lazy (lit. 

made lazy). 



Domi vuli i gboyoa. The story is quite finished. 

N umu a ye na ke a ngenda The person who is here says 
bia. good-night to you. 



XIIL 



Ths ffombill and the Bog. 



Njeli. 

Fiaugbe mia wo ta ngila. 

Koi i gula. 
Ke ti welanga. 
Ke ti ya dogboi hu. 
Ke ti tei longa na. 
Ngelewo piangbe ye ngile 

ma, ye, 
Mu mu mehe goe. 
Ke ti ya mehe goeme. 
Ke ti tu gbole malea 

(tu short for tgwe). 
Piangbe ye ngilema, 
Ye, mu tQwui le. 
Ke ti tgwui lenga. 
Ke numu e ngi mba layia 

gbia hu. 
Piangbe ye ngildma, ye, 

Tu mu tenga, 

Ye, numu e sese. 

Ye, Igngoihu 1q mu me. 

Ngila ye piangbe ma, ye, 

Kejina, nya laguli guhango 

lie. 
Be, mue towui jese. 



Story. 

There was once a hornbill and a 

dog. 
War fell. 

And they ran away. 
And they went into the bush. 
And they built a house there. 
At dawn the hornbill said to the 

dog, saying. 
Let us go and find food. 
And they went to find food. 
And they came across ripe palm- 
nuts. 
The hornbill said to the dog. 
Saying, Let us cut the nuts. 
And they cut off the palm-nuts. 
Now nobody must disobey his 

senior's order. 
The hornbill said to the dog, 

saying. 
We have cut down the bunch of 

palm-nuts, 
He said. Nobody shall slice off 

the nuts. 
He said, Leave the remains for 

us to eat. 
The dog said to the hornbill, 

saying, 
Now, my mouth is not long. 

You say. We must not cut off 

the nuts. 
237 



238 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ye ke, kulungo le. 
Ye, mu tOwui me. 
Fiangbe ngi laguli guha 

wai na. 
A kpakpale tOwui na ma. 
Fiangbe i tOwui na me f o. 

I ngila goe. 

Kp§ gbl a na wile ke a 

ngila. 
Ngila be ye, kulungo le. 
Ye, ke ji na, k5i gula ma 

bie. 
Ye, nya lei i guhani 
Mu tOwui lenga be, 
IlOngoihu mu me. 

Ye, kulungo le. 

Ke ngila be ke i ya 

Jijiam6 dogboi hu. 

Ke i komi longa. 

Kominga ti wulongo wa. 

Te le, ke ngila wa, 

Ke i ndea piangbia ma. 

Ye, ngi ya ha dogboi hu. 

Ye, ngi kominga Tonga na. 

Piangba ye, 

Ngelewo sina mu li na, 

Mu komisia gbia. 

Ke ngelewa 

Ke ti ya na. 

Ti komi gbia kaha waya- 

kpa. 
Ngila ye piangba ma. 
Ye, komi ji. 
Ye, ma fonya faw6 ma. 



Piangbe ye sao. 
Ye, mu kole 
(ka = kaha). 



ka fefele 



And he said. All right. 

He said, Let us eat the nuts. 

The hombill's beak was very 

long. 
He hammers on the nuts. 
The hombill eats all that bunch 

of nuts. 
He did not give any to the dog. 
Every time he does so with the 

dog. 
But the dog said, All right. 
He said. Now, there is war with 

you. 
He said. My mouth is not long. 
We have cut the palm-nuts off, 
And it is the remains that we 

{i.e. I) must eat. 
He said, All right. 
And so the dog went 
To walk about in the bush. 
And he saw honey. 
The bees were very fat. 
So it was^ and the dog came, 
And he said to the hornbill, 
I went to-day into the bush, 
He said, I saw bees there. 
The hombill said, 
Let us go there to-morrow at 

daylight. 
And get the bees out. 
And at daylight 
They went there. 
They took out eight baskets of 

honey. 
The dog said to the hornbill, 
He said, This honey. 
He said, we will squeeze it on a 

ledge of rocks. 
The hornbill said, No. 
He said. Let us divide the baskets 

between us. 



STORIES 



239 



Ngila be ye sao. 

Ye, nga lo be wo mu ya 

dogboi hu, 
Mua ngi mba layia gbia hu. 
Piangbe ye, i ; 
Ye, mu komi fonya. 

Ke ti komi vonya fawe hu. 

Fawe hil a li polon. 

Ke ti tOtOa na a komi mela. 

ITgila i li a komi. 

Piangbe ngi lei i hite komi 
ma. 

Ngi laguli na a jia le f awe- 
ma gbama. 

Ke i gbalenga piangbe ma. 

Ye, ngila, 

Hindei ye na bi peni ange ? 

Ye, mabia mue ya he hinda 
yira. 

Ngila be ye kulungo le. 

Ngila i komi na me fu. 

Ye, ji ge mu gbonga tpwui 
ma, 

Bs, mue sese. 

Be ge, bi yakpei lo bi 

nemdhil lengo. 
Ye na ba li lo, kere. 

Ke piangbe ta ngila 

Ke ti ya kolonga mehei 

hind^ ma. 
Ke ngila i piangbia iQi 

menga. 
Piangbe i wa 
I ngUa jogba. 
Ke ngil6 i ngi nyia. 
Ke i gQwQa, 



But the dog said. No. 

He said, I was here first in the 

bush, 
We must observe precedence. 
The hornbill said, Yes ; 
He said. Let us squeeze the 

honey. 
And they squeezed the honey on 

the rock. 
The rock went far. 
And they began there to eat the 

honey. 
The dog licks up the honey. 
The hornbiirs mouth did not 

reach the honey. 
His beak walks over the rock in 

vain. 
And it hurt the hornbill. 
He said. Dog, 

What have you done to me 1 
He said. You and I will not sit 

down in one place. 
And the dog said. All right. 
The dog ate all that honey. 
He said, When a short time ago 

we joined together for palm- 
nuts. 
You said. Let us not slice them. 
You said, a few days ago, that 

you alone had any sense. 
He said, Now you can go if you 

like. 
And the hornbill and the dog 
They went away on account of 

the food in the place. 
And the dog ate the hombilFs 

child. 
The hornbill comes 
To choke the dog. 
And the dog bit him. 
And he flew. 



240 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 

I lia ngg ma. He went up to the sky. 

Ta ^ia wo na a kpaui na So it was that he made that cry 

will a Dgila, ngila, ngila, of dog, dog, dog. 

ngila. (Ngila being an imitation of the 

bird's cry.) 

Igboyoa. It is finished. 



XlV. 



The Egg-plant cmd the Woman who talked. 



Nyapgi mia wo. 

I gbema. 

I ndO leni, 

Ta ngi banga ti gboni hini 

yira ma. 
Kpele gbi a lewe dogboi hu, 

A wolo, 

Ye, A ! Ngewo wa ! 

Ye, ngi gbg wileni abie, 

Nya ng5 ndg leni 1 

Kpele gbi a lewe 

A ngole na wile. 

Tamo i kpae la tei gbela. 

Ti kOji hi. 

Kqji ke i wa. 

Te le, nyapOi ! mbawubela 

Ke ti wa ngi hini ye 

Kpahii bawume. 

Te ngi ma, 

Te, bi ndO leni. 

Fale, bia ba li, 

Bi kgji ji goe, 

Bi wa, 

Bi ngili ngengebra we. 

Nyapgi ke i sambe bu- 
mbtia, 

Ke i yd. 

iii, 

I fo kojema. 
i6 



There was once a young woman. 

She was barren. 

She bore no child. 

She and her companions shared 

a husband. 
She was always wandering in the 

bush, 
Weeping, (she weeps) 
Saying, Oh ! Great God ! 
Saying, What have I done to you. 
That I have borne no child 1 
She was always wandering about 
And making that weeping. 

A man laid out a farm near the 
town. 

They planted an egg-plant. 

And the egg-plant came up. 

So it was, that the rice planters 

Came to the woman's husband 

To plant rice in his farm. 

They say to her, 

Saying, You have borne no child. 

Therefore, go you, 

(And) pluck this egg-plant. 

Bring it, 

(And) cook it for the labourers. 

And the young woman took a 
basket, 

And she went. 

She goes, 

She reaches the egg-plant. 

241 



242 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



I ye koji goema, 

A ngole wile, 

Ye, ma nya banga gbele 

Mu gboa hini ma, 

Ti gbi ti ndO lenga, 

Nya ngi ndO leni. 

Kunayefo ndgpO yenge gbi 

ta nya Igma. 
Ye ke, ngewo le. 
Te le, ke kOji iyila. 

Ke i yid. 

Ye nyapgi, ye, 

Ke ye wu layia i gboto 

Ke ngi bi bawga. 

Nyapgi i wQte, ye, 

Yo jiei leni 1 

Kgji ye, 

Ng6 nya ge abie. 

Ye, ba yepe. 

Ye, ngg yepe. 

Ye ke, jondu le. 

Ke i jondua. 

Koji ye nyapgi ma, ye, 



She was picking the eggs. 

And weeping. 

Saying, I and all my companions 

We share a husband, 

They have all borne children, 

(But) I have borne no child. 

They are always sending me to 

do all the inferior work. 
And said. It is God(*s doing). 
So it was, that it was the very 

egg-plant. 
And it spoke. 
It said to the young woman, 

saying. 
If you talk less 
I may help you. 

The young woman turned, saying, 
Who spoke 1 
The egg-plant said, 
I cannot show myself to you. 
It said. Do not talk. 
She said, I will not talk. 
It said also. Swear first. 
And she took an oath. 
The egg-plant said to the young 

woman, saying, 
I will make you bear a child. 
She said, All right. 
And she said. How now will you 

make me bear a child ? 
It said. Shut your eyes. 
And the young woman shut her 

eyes. 
And the egg-plant turned into a 

lady. 
She was a beautiful lady. 
She said to the woman. 



Nga pe lo bi ndp le. 

Ye kulungo le. 

Ye ke, ba ye pe na nga 

ndgle? 
Ye, bi yama li ( = liwi). 
Ke nyapOi i ngi yama linga. 

Ke kOji na ke i maluvea a 

nyaha.^ 
Nyaha lo nyande. 
Ye, nyapOi ma, 

^ NyaJuty meaning woman or wife, is above nyapg^ girl or woman. See 
Vocabulary of Relationships, etc. In the Mende text the distinction is 
clear, but in the English it is necessaiy to use another word, e, g, lady, to 
distinguish the speakers. 



STORIES 



243 



Ye, bi yama volo. 
Ke i ngi yama vongo. 
A ye wQte, 
Ke i nyahalpi loa lOni. 

Ngi nyini ji ngi yaka vengo. 

Ye nyapoi, ye, 

Bs yepe. 

Ye, 6h. 

Ye, mu ya tei hu. 

Ye, nde be, ye ndpi ji 1 

Nya ndewe loi lo, 

I ndgi ji yoyoi mbe. 

Ye, ba huge. 

Ba nde ba yema ( = yiama), 

Koji lo maluveni a numui 

Ye, bi na l^a, 

Ye, nga yama lo gbon, 

Ngi maluvi a kpji gboma. 

Nyapgi ye, 

Bi hai gbe ngeleya 

Bi to doma. 

Ye, Ngewo yana ni a bi go. 

Ye, ngg na wile. 
Ye ke, mu li tei hii. 

Ke ti yd tei hQ. 

Numui gbl ke ti nyapOi 

molia, 
Te, ji bi ndg leni. 

Bi ndQi ji joi mi lo 1 
Ye, nya ndewe mia, 
I ndgi ji yoyui mbe. 



Saying, Open your eyes. 

And she opened her eyes. 

She turned round. 

And she saw a young girl standing 

there. 
Her breasts were full. 
She said to the woman, saying, 
You must not talk. 
She said, Yes. 

She said, Let us go into the town. 
She said. Say, (if any one says) 

whose child is this ? 
It is my sister's child, 
She sent this child to me. 
She said do not explain. 
Do not talk, saying. 
The egg-plant was changed into 

a person. 
She said. If you talk so, 
She said, I will surely go back 

again, 
I will turn into the egg-plant 

again. 
The woman said, 
You look for something in the air 
And you find (lit. see) it on the 

ground. 
She said. It is God who gives you 

this. 
She said, I will not do it. 
And she said. Let us go into the 

town. 
And they went into the town. 
And everybody asked the woman, 

saying, 
Seeing that you have not borne 

a child, 
Where did you get this child? 
She said. It is my sister, 
Who (lit. she) sent this child to 

me. 



244 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ti ndOpOi na lagoi. 

Ti ngi kave. 

Ti pa ti me. 

Eene na ngi wQ a nyapgi 

iia 
I iQi wo angie. 
Kpele gbi a nyapOi humoli, 

Ye, bi ndQi ji joi mi lo ? 

Ye, nya ndewe lo 
I ndgi ji yoyui mbe, 
Kpele gbi a ngi moli. 
Nyanga va ti nemahui I 

guha. 
Ke i hugenga a ngi hini 

Ye, kpele na ge 

Ti ndeni, t6, 
Ngi li kpji goeme, 

Ngi li ge, 

Ngi wolo koji wulima. 

Ta ge i maluveni a numui 

Ke nya hini mia abie ge, 

Nya gohu Iowa bi ma. 
Ke ngi hugenga abie. 

Ba ya hiige a numu gbi. 
Bi hugenga a numu, 
Kqji htimenia, 
A yama gboma 
I wQte a kpji. 
Fale ba hQge. 
Te le, kene ye, i. 
Ye, ngg ya huge. 
Te le, ngi lima-nyahei 
Ke i ngi mglia na. 



They gave the young girl food. 
They made a feast for her. 
They kill, they eat 
The man whose own that woman 

was 
Had not cared for her befora 
Every moment he asks the 

woman. 
Saying, Where did you get this 

child] 
She said. It is my sister 
Who sent me this child. 
Every moment he asks her. 
As for women their sense is not 

great. 
And she told everything to her 

husband. 
She said. That time a little while 

ago 
That they said, saying, 
That I was to go and pick the 

egg-plant, 
I went then, 

I wept at the egg-plant trea 
It then turned into this person. 

And you have always been my 

husband, 
I am entirely yours. 
And I have explained it to 

you. 
Do not talk about it to anybody. 
(If) you talk about it to anybody, 
(And) the egg-plant hears, 
She will return 

And become an egg-plant again. 
Therefore do not talk about it. 
So the man said. Yes. 
He said, I will not talk about it. 
Now his favourite wife 
She also asked him. 



STORIES 



246 



Ye, mbai ji i ndQi ji joi 

milo? 
Kpele gbi i kene molia na. 

Nyapgi be tQ-nyaha mia. 
Ngi longo i ngi mbai ji 

Igi ji hinda hugo. 
Ke kene i hiigenga a ngi li- 

ma-nyahei. 
Ye, ndgi ji ge nyapgi i 

wela. 
Ye, ba ngi gohii iQ yana. 

Ye, i ye pileni i ndQi ma 

joi. 
Ye, ji ge gengebla ti wai 

nya gama, 
Gbe na gi H kgjg go'emi, 

Hu mia ge koji na 

I maluveni a numui na. 

Kia gi hiigenga abie, 

Ba huge a numu gbi. 

Bi hugenga, 

Bi mbai Igi i yd, 

Ga pe bi ma a njia lo 

Gau fere na i gboyo. 
Nyappi, ngi wq a ndgi, 

Ke i ya nye gbeme. 

A hiye njei na hu. 

Ke nyapgi na ke i ndgpgi 

lulinga a kgjg. 
Ke i ya. 
Ye, gbe i hi, 
I ngi njei mawulo. 
Ye, ji wo ngi ndea ngi ma, 

Ng6, a nya la ge, 



Saying, This other wife where did 

she get this child ? 
She was constantly asking the 

man that. 
This woman was a jealous woman. 
She wanted to know all about 

her companion's child. 
And the man told his favourite 

wife all about it. 
He said, This child the woman 

produced a few days ago. 
He said, It is not the child of 

her belly. 
He said. What she did to get the 

child (is this). 
She said, when the labourers came 

to me, 
At the time that I went to pick 

the egg-plant, 
It was then that the egg-plant 
Changed into that person. 
Seeing that I have told you. 
Do not tell anybody else. 
If you tell, 

Your companion's child is gone, 
(And) I will make trouble with 

you 
(Until) two months are ended. 
The woman, whose the child 

was, 
Went to catch fish. 
She comes up out of the water. 
And the woman called the girl 

Egg-plant. 
And she went. 
She said, Let her sit down, 
And await her mother. 
(The egg-plant) said, I told her 

before. 
Saying, she was not to show my 

name, 



246 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Tamia a nya hinda huge a 

ngi wongeisia, 
Ye, gbe i wa. 
Ye sao, i na. 
Nya wama wilema. 
Ke nyapOi i hiya nye 

gbeme. 
Kia wo i wani, 
Ke i ngi molia, ye, 
Ji wo bi heni, 

Ye, bemango, ndp i b6ya. 

Ye, nya kQJQ, 
Ba ndO wole wili dogboihu, 
Ye, nyakOjO, 
Ngi manu bi ma. 
Ngi WQtea wo a numu, 
Ngi yenge bie, 
Tamia i wile bi limahu e 
gili a hinda gbi. 

Tamia ba nde, be, 

Kqjq lo ange. 

Ye, ngi yama mbe-oh. 

Ke i yama, 

I li hindei 

Wo nyappi na i li na kOJQ 

goeme. 
Ke ngi Ipi i yama na, 
1 wQte a koji. 
NyapOi na i hei wo ndg gbi 

ya ngeya. 
Ngi layia mia wo 
I ngi bani a ndgi. 
I kgji na hinda hiige wo, 

I gbate wo na 
Kpji na hinda hu ; 
Ke i ngi wQ ngQi lema. 



Further, she was not to talk my 

affairs with her relations, 
She said, Wait till she comes. 
She said, No, she is not there. 
The woman is coming in the road. 
And the woman came up from 

catching fish. 
When she came, 

(The egg-plant) asked her, saying, 
When you were sitting here 

before, 
It said, You were barren, you had 

no child. 
It said, I was the egg-plant, 
You cried in the bush for a child, 
It said, I was the egg-plant, 
I pitied you. 
I turned into a person, 
I worked for you. 
And also it came about that your 

mind was not to remember any- 
thing. 
Therefore you were not to say 

that (lit. saying) 
I was the egg-plant. 
It said, I go back as I was before. 
And it returned, 
It went to the place 
Where the woman had gone before 

to pluck the egg-plant. 
And her child returned there. 
It turned into the egg-plant. 
The woman used to sit there 

before without any child. 
It had been her complaint before 
That she was without a child. 
She talked about the egg-plant's 

affairs, 
She had been well off when 
The egg-plant was in the affair ; 
But she broke her word. 



XV. 



TJie Magic Shirt. 



Kene mia wo, 

I gbate, 

I lewe dQle gbele ma. 

Numui kpele ti IqIq angie 

Nu gbate va. 

Ke ti koi hubat^a ngi va. 

Te, numu yakpei ji i lewe 

muma d8le ji hil. 
Te, ma kulu ngi ye. 

Te, a mu koi we ngi ma, 

Mu ngi vaya. 

Ke ti koi wea ngi ma, 

Ke ti ngi batehu vaya. 

Ke i lowunga. 

Ke i ya dogboi hu. 

Koi i ngi loni. 

Ke koi i ngi nunga vuluisia 

kpele hou. 
Fq yira i ndogboi hu. 
I gbia. 

Ke kpi i gboyoa. 
I yama. 

I ngi lei 1q (lei /or tei). 
Ke nunga ti wa ngi lei hu. 
Ti bo ngima. 
Ti ngi lei 1q. 
Dakpag yira i bumbui 

gbate, 
Ke i yala njei hu. 



There was once a man, 

He was rich. 

He surpassed all the country. 

Everybody hated him 

Because he was rich. 

And they prepared war for him. 

They said, This one man surpasses 

us in this country. 
They said. We do not agree to 

have him. 
They said, Let us make war on 

him, 
(And) let us spoil him. 
And they made war on him. 
And they spoiled his wealth. 
And he hid. 

And he went into the bush. 
The war did not see him. 
But the war caught all his people 

themselves. 
One year he was in the bush. 
He came out. 
And the war was finished. 
He returned. 
He (re)built his town. 
And people came into his town. 
They helped him. 
They built his town. 
A certain young man made a fish 

trap. 
And he took it to the water. 
247 



248 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ke i kale gQnua. 
Ke i bumbui welenga nga. 
Ngelewo i wa kaleya. 
I male ti kale yahtima. 

I Iq na, 

I moli, ye, 

Yo nya gale yahumamai ? 

Ye, nga mane lo. 

Mema ! dogboyusui mia 

I kale yahumama. 

Ye, kal6 ji nga mane lo. 

Ye, numui ji i nya gale ji 

yahumama. 
Ye, nga hou lo. 
Ke i ya tei hii. 
Ngi mbai ji ta ta ti longo- 

ma. 
Ke i ya, 

I nde ngi ma, ye, 
Ngi kale konua, 
Ke ti ya ngahumama. 

Ye, mu li mu nga ne. 

Mu ya, 

Bi le nduvui hti, 

Ye, nya ngi lowu bele ku 

hu. 
Kei ya, 
Ke i lowti na bele kui hu. 

Ke ngi mbai be, 

Ke i lowua nduvui hu nge- 

leya. 
Ngenda tete 



And he made a weir. 
And he set the trap on it. 
At daybreak he came to the weir. 
He found some one (lit. they) had 

stolen from the weir. 
He stood there, 
He asked, saying. 
Who has stolen from my weir 1 
He said, I will watch. 
See ! it was the wild man 
Who stole from the weir. 
He said, I will watch this weir. 
He said, This person is stealing 

from my weir. 
He said, I will catch him. 
And he went into the town. 
He and his friend were much 

attached to each other. 
And he went. 
He said to him, saying, 
I have made a weir. 
And some one has gone and stolen 

from it. 
He said, Let us go and watch. 
Let us go. 
You climb into a (lit. the) bamboo 

palm, 
He said, I myself will hide in the 

buttresses of a big tree. 
And he went. 
And he hid between the buttresses 

of the big tree. 
And his friend too. 
He hid aloft in the bamboo palm. 



In the early morning 
The wild man came 
To steal from the weir. 
And he came, 

^ Dogboyusui is tlie chimpanzee, which, like the gorilla, is held to be 
half human, and to b^ a devil with ma^ic powers* 



Ke dogboyusui ^ i wa 
Kale yahumama. 
Ke i wa, 



STORIES 



249 



Ke i ndgmei gbia ngima, 
Ke i gbol^ gbia wumba, 
Ke i bel6 gbia ngima, 
Ke i vowe gbia ngi loko hu, 

Ke i bumbua, 

Ke i ndowua gbele kui hii, 

Ke i ya njei hH kale ya. 

Ke i mbombui gbia kale ya, 

Ke i da vulonga, 

Ke nyenga ti wua dome. 

Ke i tpa nyema, 
Ke na ha. 
Ke i gbapa, ye, 

Ko! 

Ye, bia ge ba nya gale ya- 

humama. 
Ye, Ko ! 
Ye, ndakpe-oh. 
Ye, dogboyusui gbe, 

I kale yahumama. 

Ye, a ye pe a kale yahuma ? 

Ye, i nye wua ndome, 

Ke i IgkQ iQa ngi lQm6 ma, 

Ke i tga nye ma, 

Ke na ha. 

Ke i ngi Igkoi Iga ngi mbai 

ma, 
Ke ngi mbai i ha ngeleya. 

Dogboyusui ke i lua, 
Ke i lia a pime, 



And be took off his shirt, 
And he took off his hat. 
And he took off his trousers. 
And he took off his charms from 

his arm. 
And he took them, 
And he hid them between the 

buttresses of the big tree. 
And he went into the water on 

the weir. 
And he took the fish trap off the 

weir. 
And he loosed its mouth. 
And the fish poured out on the 

ground. 
And he pointed to a fish, 
And it died. 
And he (the man) called out, 

saying, 
Ko! 
He said. It is you who have been 

stealing from my weir. 
He said, Ko ! 
He said, My friend. 
He said, Look at the wild 

man, 
He is stealing from the weir. 
He said, How is he going about 

stealing from the weirl 
He said. He poured the fish out 

on the ground. 
And he pointed his hand to his 

shirt. 
And he pointed to a fish^ 
And it died. 
And he pointed his hand to his 

friend. 
And his friend died aloft (in the 

tree). 
And the wild man feared, 
And he went running, 



250 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ke i ngi Igmesia gbele iQa 

na. 
Ke i ya. 
Ke dakpaOi na ke i ngi 

mbai iQlinga, 
Ke ye, ndakpe ! 
Ye, wa a mu li-oh ! 
Ke i ya. 

A ye na i wgte na ; 
Ngi mbai hango. 
Ke ndogboyusui Igmei na 
Ke i mbumbua, 
Ke i ya a pime. 
Ke i ya a ndOme, 
I fe mahei we. 
Ye, keke. 

Ye, bunde gula ngeya. 
Ye, gbe bunde le 1 
Ye, ngi ya gi kale gunuma, 

Dogboyusui mia i ngahu- 

mama nyeya. 
Ngi Hugo. 

Ngi ndea nya mbai ma, 
Nge, mu li nya gale mane 

we. 
Mu ya na. 
Dogboyusui i wa kale ya- 

humama. 
I ngi iQme gbia ngi ma. 
I ngi pua ngulu kui hu. 

Nya mba i lowua nduvuihu. 
Nya be ngi lowua ngulu 

kui hu. 
Dogboyusui i wa kale ya- 

humama. 
I nye gbia njei hu, 
I pua ngiye ma, 
I iQkQi iQnga ngi iQmema, 



And he left all his clothes (lit. 

shirts) there. 
And he went. 
And that young man called his 

friend. 
And he said. Young man ! 
He said. Come, let us go ! 
And he went. 

It was then that he turned ; 
His friend was dead. 
And the wild man's shirt 
He took, 

And he ran away. 
And he took the shirt, 
He gave it to the king. 
He said. My father. 
He said, trouble falls on me. 
He said. What trouble 1 
He said, I went to construct a 

fishing weir, 
(And) the wild man stole from 

me. 
I did not understand. 
I said to my friend, 
I said, Let us go and watch my 

weir. 
We went there. 
The wild man came to steal at 

the weir. 
He took off his shirt. 
He put it between a tree's 

buttresses. 
My friend hid in a palm. 
Myself, I hid between the but- 
tresses of the tree. 
The wild man came to steal at 

the weir. 
He took the fish out of the water, 
He put them on the bank, 
He pointed (his) hand to his 

shirt, 



STORIES 



251 



I tga nyema, 

Ke nyenga ti ha. 

Ngi bandea dogboyusui ma, 

Nge, Ko ! 

Bia ge ba nya gal6ji ya- 

humama. 
Nge, ndakpe-oh ! 
Dogboyusui gbe, 
1 kama hinda wilema. 
A ye pe, bi toa, 
A nye wu ngiye ma, 
I IgkQ 1q ngi Igme ma, 
I 1q nye ma, 
Ke nye i ha. 
Ye, na gi peni. 
Ngi nya loko lo dom6 ma, 
Gi to nya mba lenga, 
Ke i ha dowume nduvui hu. 

Gi ko. 

Ke dogboyusui i ya a pime. 

Ta mia ta mahei ye, 

Na bi wileni. 

Ye, nga pe lo, 

Ye, ngi njiei na ba wumba. 



Ye, ke, 

Ye, a li wu wa dakpaoi na 

I wileni beya ( = bi yeya) 
dogboi hu, 

Wu wala gi to. 
Ke ti ya ti wala. 
Ye, dakpoi ji i hei ji wileni 
beya dogboi hu, 

Ye, nga na go pe. 
Jialgi i l^ma ngitiya. 



He pointed to a fish, 

And the fish died. 

I holla'd to the wild man, 

I said. Hi ! 

It is you who have been stealing 

at my weir. 
I said. Friend ! 
See the wild man. 
He is doing something wonderful. 
What he does is, you see, 
He puts the fish on the bank. 
He points the hand to his shirt, 
He points to a fish. 
And the fish dies. 
He said, I did that. 
I pointed my hand to the shirt, 
I looked towards my friend, 
And he died in his hiding-place 

in the palm. 
I do not know. 
And the wild man ran away. 
Then the king said, 
You did that. 
He said, I will arrange, 
He said, to stop that affair on 

your head, i, e, that is hanging 

over you. 
He said also. 
Saying, Go and fetch that young 

man 
That died by your hand in the 

bush {wile = do^ a euphemism 

for die). 
Bring him for me to see. 
And they went and brought him. 
He said, (If) this young man he 

died this death at your hand 

in the bush, 
He said, I shall know that soon. 
A small child was passing in 

front. 



252 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ke ta mahei ke i ngi lokoi 
iQa dogboyusui lomema, 
Ke i tQa jia loi ma, 
Ke i gula, 
Ke i ha. 
Ke i ndea dakpalgi ma, ye, 

Bi mbai ji i hei wile beya 

dogboi hu. 
Ye, njia gbl ya bima. 

Ye ke, dogboyusui Igme ji 

i nya na va. 
Ye, bamani mahei a liya na, 

Nya mia, ngi njia bama 
bumba. 

Dakpoi na ye, 

Ngi kurua. 

I segbia mahei ma. 

Ti jia Igi gbgwu. 

Ti ndakpoi be bO. 

Mahei na i navo gboto 

majia 
Kolongo dakpoi na va a 

hindei na bu ; 
Kolongo dogboyusui ma 

gule na ma. 
Ke njiei i gboyoa. 
Ke mahei na fg i lewe nani 

I gbate gbon, 

I lewe ngovei ma. 

Ke i yunga longa a nasia 

gbele wg 
Ti koi goni angie. 
Ye, nasia kpele ti kgi goni 

ange. 
Ye, ti wa. 
Ye, mu go a fQi ji. 



And the king pointed his hand 

to the wild man's shirt. 
And he pointed to the child, 
And it fell down, 
And it died. 
And he said to the young man, 

saying, 
This your friend died by your 

hand in the bush. 
He said. There is no blame (lit. 

palaver) on you. 
He said too, This wild man's shirt 

is now mine. 
He said, Because I am the 

king, 
It is 1 who will stop the ])alaver 

on your head, i, e. will acquit 

you. 
That young man said, 
I accept. 

He thanked the king. 
They buried the child. 
They buried the young man also. 
That king spent much money 

On account of that young man 

and the whole affair ; 
On account of the wild man and 

that shirt. 
And the matter ended. 
And that king for over four 

years 
Increased in wealth. 
More than before. 
And he boasted over all those 

who before 
Had made war on him. 
He said. All those who made war 

on me, 
He said, let them come. 
He said, we will fight this year. 



STORIES 



253 



Ke i ti gonga a loe wa- 

yakpa. 
Ke ti ghi, tia be, te, 
Mu kulua, 

Te, koi wo ba ma wile, 
Te, mu goa na bi ma 

Mua bi wa lo. 

Ye, ngi kurua. 

Ke koi wa. 

Ye, numu gbi mawueni mu 

tei ji hti. 
Ye, numu gbi a kpande 

wili kgi ji ma. 
Ye, mu gbi, ye, a hei. 

Ye, nya kOi lo, 

Nga koi ji go. 

Ngi nunga gbi ke ti kurua. 

Ke ti lia ti hei. 

Ke ta ngi mahei ke i wa 

pebu, 
Ke i dogboyusui bele 

yinga (=yiHnga), 
Ke i dogboyusui Igme 

wunga, 
Ke i dogboyusui gbole 

welenga, 
Ke i dogboyusui vowi wua 

ngi baki hu, 
Ke i gbia ngitiya. 
Ke kgi i wa tei hu. 

Ti nunga gbi hou tei hu. 

Ke ti numu wani. 
Ti ngili lo ti kpelema. 
Ti wa, 

Ti mahei moli, te, 
Bi yema (yiama) ge 
Mu wa 



And he gave them eight days. 

And they all said, 

We agree, 

They said. You have desired war. 

They said, (If) we fight now with 

you 
We shall kill you. 
He said, I accept. 
And the war came. 
He said, Everybody, I and you, 

we are in this town. 
He said. Nobody shall fire a gun 

in this war. 
He said, All of us, he said, you 

must sit down. 
He said, lb is my war, 
I will fight this war. 
And all his people agreed. 
And they went, they sat down. 
And the king of the town came 

into the house. 
And he pulled on the wild man's 

trousers, 
And he put on the wild man's 

shirt. 
And he put on the wild man's hat, 

Ajid he put the wild man's 
charms on his upper arm, 

And he went outside. 

And the fighting came into the 
town. 

They (the enemy) caught all the 
people in the town. 

But they killed nobody. 

They tied them all up. 

They come, 

They ask the king, saying. 

You were saying the other day 

That we might come 



254 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Mu koi go. 

Mahei be ye, 

Nya ge ngi ndeni, 

NgS, wu wa, 

Mu kdi go. 

Ye, kia b§ ( = gbele, time) 

na. 
Ye, nya numu gbi koi ji 

golama. 
Ye, wu kia yira. 
Ye, wu yama wu yei. 

Nya koi a houla. 

Ke mahei ke i ngi iQkO iQa 

Dogboyusui Igme ji ma 

I ngi ma, 

Ke i tga koi ma, 

Ke ti gbi ti ha. 

I ngi iQkgi tO dogboyusui 

iQmema ngi ma, 
Ke i lo koisia ma, 
Ke koisia gbi ti ha. 
Ti pande wili goi ma. 

Kosia ti gboyoa hala. 

Ta mahei i koi gbi vaya a 
dogboyusui Igme na a ngi 
ma. 

I ndgme gbia ngi ma. 

I pu kana, 

I ndagbou. 

Ku gbi 1 ya gui ngi lei 
ma. 

Nunga gbi ti nde, ts, 

Kunafo wa go a mahei ji. 

Kamahinda i muma lia. 
Mu wa ko ma, 
Gbande i wilini, 
Ti numu wani, 



(And) make war. 

The king too said, 

I myself said the other day, 

I said. Come, 

Let us fight. 

He said. It is now the time. 

He said, I will take nobody by 

surprise in this war. - 
He said, You are all as one. v 
He said, You will not return to 

your country. 
My war will catch you. 
And the king pointed his hand 
To the wild man's shirt 
That he was wearing. 
And he pointed to the enemy, 
And they all died. 
He pointed his hand to the wild 

man's shirt on himself, 
And he pointed at the enemy, 
And the enemy all died. 
They did not fire a gun in the 

war. 
The enemy all died (lit. finished 

dying). 
The king of the town destroyed 

all the enemy with that wild 

man's shirt that he wore. 
He took off the shirt. 
He put it in a box, 
He shut it. 
No war could reach his town. 

Everybody said, saying. 

You must never make war with 

this king. 
We have magic in our midst. 
We came to war, 
No gun was fired, 
They did not kill a single person, 



STORIES 



255 



Numu ji kpele i ha. 
Tl ya we gboma. 
Ke nuDga ti ya, 
Mahei na i lOa. 
I gbate na hu. 



(But) this people all died. 
They did not do it again. 
And people went away, 
That king was left (alone). 
He grew rich there. 



Igboyoa. 



It is finished. 



XVI. 



The Woman whose Child returned to Life^ and h£fr Enemy, 



Nyapgi mia wo. 

Ta ngi banga ti gbo hini 

ma. 
Ti hini kpatengo. 
I gbgma, 
I ndg leni. 
Ngi mbanga ti ndenga le 

gboto. 
I wa Mori ma. 
Ye, pe ngi ndg le. 

Ke Mori pea. 

Ke i ndg 16a ; 

Nyaha lo. 

Ngi Igi nyandengo ; 

I Ig ngi mbanga ti nda 

lenge nasia ma. 
Ke ngi mba-nyahei i Iglg a 

ngie. 
Ke ngi Igi na ke i gbel4. 
Ke ti wa Sandi hti. 

Dgpgi la Mang-woni. 
Ke ti ti gbia Sandi hu. 

Manwoni nyandengo wa, 
I lewe ngi mba Sandi ygi 

nasia ma. 
Ke nyapgi ngi mba nyahei 
Ke i bona lenga 



There was once a woman. 

She and her companions shared 
a husband. 

Their husband was rich. 

She was barren. 

She bore no child. 

Her companions bore many chil- 
dren. 

She came to a Mori man. 

She said, Make me bear a 
child. 

And the Mori man did so. 

And she bore a child ; 

It was a girl. 

Her child was a fine one ; 

It was finer (lit. it passed) than 
her companions' children. 

And her fellow-wife hated her. 

And her child reached puberty. 
And they came into the " Sandi *' 

bush. 
The girl's name was Mang-woni. 
And they came out of the Sandi 

bush. 
Manwoni was very beautiful, 
She passed her companions in the 

Sandi bush. 
And the woman's fellow-wife 
Made witchcraft 
256 



STORIES 



257 



Ngi mbai nyahei Igi ma, 

Ke i bona lenga Maiiwoni 

ma. 
Ke i ha. 
Nyapgi i wolo ; 
I woDga ngau nani ; 
Ngi Igi yakpei i wonga 

ngau nani. 
Ke ndObela ke ti ngi ma- 

mamau golonga. 
NdOpQi hani. 
1 li ndg. 
Ke pumo gowoli ke i 1q 

angle. 
Ke ta ta ti so wea. 
Dgpoi ke pumoi i ngi go a 

navo gboto. 
Nyapoi i wolo ngi loi va 

ngau nani na. 
Ke pumoi na ta be ngi 

yate na. 
Ke i nyapoi mamamau loa. 
Ye, nyapoi ji ge ngi ngi 

mamamau loma. 
Ngi ngi loi yama ngelema- 

hu. 
Kpindi na ke nyapoi i la. 
Ke i heugk a pumoi na, 

Ta ngi loi ti beni kotu wele 

hu, 
NavQ gboto. 
I^QpOi ye pumoi ma. 

Ye, ngi nji lo. 

Ke pumoi ndea nyapgi ma. 

Ye, ngi bi mamamau golo, 
Ye, ngole ji gbi ba pile 
ngelemabu. 
17 



Against her companion's daugh- 
ter, 

She made witchcraft against 
Mahwoni. 

And she died. 

The woman wept ; 

She wept for four months ; 

She wept for her only child four 
months. 

And the dwellers in the lower 
world felt sorry for her. 

The girl died. 

She went to the lower world. 

And a white man loved her. 

And he and she married. 

And the white man gave the girl 
much money. 

The woman wept for her child 
those four months. 

And that white man he too was 
a spirit there. 

And he saw the woman's sorrow. 

He said, I have seen this wo- 
man's sorrow for a long time. 

I will return her child to the 
land of the living. 

That night the woman lay down. 

And she dreamt of that white 
man, 

(That) he and her child lived in 
a stone house, 

(With) plenty of money. 

The girl said to the white 
man, 

Saying (that) it is her mother. 

And the white man said to the 
woman. 

He said, I feel sorry for you. 

He said. Making all this weep- 
ing in the land of the living. 



258 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ye, nya mema ndo 

KoloDgo bi loi ji hindahu. 

Ye, ngelewa sina. 

Ye, bi li bi iQi gambe ma. 

Ye, bi segbule bumbu, 

Bi gbe ngale ma, 

Ke kQnde bumbu ; 

Li bi 1q kamb^ ma. 

Ye, bi iQi, ye, nga veKoma 



I wa bi gama. 
Ye, kulongo le. 
Ngelewo i k0nd6 bumbu, 

Ke segbule, 

Ke ngale ; 

lU. 

I ngale fQmbO kamb6 ma, 

I kQnd6 lO kamb6 ma, 

I segbul6 ho mba. 

Ke pum5i nie ngi ma a 

kpindi, 
Ye, bi loi i gbia sina ka- 

mbe hCL 
Ye, ba humbu a gbunde 

ma. 
Ye, gbema ! 
A tei gala sawa. 

I wa bi gama ; 

Biho. 

Ke ngelewa nyapgi i hi 

kamb6 ma. 
I ngule yia. 
Ye Mahwoni I 
Ya ha Bondo. 



He said, I am hearing down 
below 

All about your child's affair. 

He said. At daybreak to-morrow. 

He said, go to your child's grave. 

He said, Take your rattle. 

Add the mat to it. 

And take the mortar (for pound- 
ing grain) ; 

Go and put them on the grave. 

He said. Your child, he said, I 
will present her (to you) to- 
morrow ; 

She will come to you. 

She said. All right. 

At daybreak she took the 
mortar. 

And the rattle. 

And the mat ; 

She went. 

She spread the mat on the grave. 

She stood the mortar on the 
grave, 

She held up her rattle. 

And the white man told her in 
the night, 

He said. Your child will come out 
to-morrow from the grave. 

He said, Do not be in a hurry to 
embrace her. 

He said, Stop ! 

She will go round the town three 
times. 

She will come to you ; 

Catch her. 

And at daybreak the woman sat 
at the grave. 

She sang. 

She said, Manwoni I 

Go to-day to the Bondo bush 
(same as Sandi bush). 



STORIES 



269 



Manwoni wa 1 

NyapOi i ngule na yisi, 

Hawa pu gbS ma 

Ke ndOpOi ke i gbia kambe 

hu. 
Ngi wui na kani gb^li na 

pun hondro nugboyongo. 
Ngi lOkQi ji gbi kani pumoi 

feni. 
I gbia, 
I li a pime, 
I tei gala sawa, 

I wa ngi njei gama. 
Ke ngi njei bundea ma. 
Ke nav6i na kpi, 
Ke kamb6 na, 
Ke i wot^a kotu wele ; 
Tawai i le na. 
Nyapgi na i ndOi leni, 
Ke i gbate a ngelemahu. 
Ke ngi mba nyahei ke i na 

iQa, 
Ke i gbalea ngima. 
Ke ngi nda lOi na ke i 

yiama, 
Ye,gbe? 

Gba ti nda lenga ta ha, 
Ta ti gbate ; 
Bia bg ha. 
Ye, ha-oh ! 
Gi gbate. 
Ke i bona lea be ngi iQi ma. 

Ke ngi iQi ha. 
Ke ti kpowua 
Ngi mba nyahei nda iQi 

gamb^ belanga. 
Ke nyahei na ke ta be i yia 

pum5i gama ; 
I wolo Igfere.^ 



Manwoni, come ! 

The woman sang that song. 

In ten hours' time 

The girl came out of the grave. 

Her head was of gold, twenty 
hundred pounds' worth. 

Her arm was all gold that the 
white man gave her. 

She came out, 

She went running, 

went round the town three 



times, 
She came to her mother. 
And her mother embraced her. 
And all that money, 
And the grave, 
It turned into a stone house ; 
It was finer than any in the town. 
That woman she bore the child, 
And she was rich in the world. 
And her fellow-wife saw that^ 

And it hurt her. 

And she used to scold her own 
child, 

Saying, Why is it 1 

Other people's own children die, 

They grow rich ; 

(But) you will not die. 

She said. Die ! 

(So that) I get rich. 

And she made witchcraft also 
against her child. 

And her child died. 

And they buried it 

Near the grave of her fellow- 
wife's own child. 

And that woman she too howled 
at the white man ; 

She wept two days. 



260 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Pamoi be, ndi^pOi nji i jia 
nya gama 1q fere ; 

Ye, ngi nje g^o ji wi 

tema. 
Ye, nga ngama lo nna. 

Ke njapj^i be i hengi a 

ptimOi, 
Ye, wa sina bi ngnle jia 

bi l^i gamb^ ma. 
Ye, ngi gbema i wa bi 

gama. 
Ke n japQi i hengd. 
Ngelewo I yie (jiai) namu 

w^ma. 
Ke i ya, 
Ke ta be ke i ngale wu- 

mbda, 
Ke i segbula wumbtia, 
Ke i kOndd bombda, 
Ke i ya kamb^ ma. 
I kOndd l^a kamb^ ma, 

Ke i ngale vOmb^a kamb^ 

ma, 
Ke i BegbuU b5a mba, 
Ke i ngule yia. 
Ye, Mahwoni ! 
Ye, ya ha Bondo! Man- 

woni wa I 
Ke ngi iQi i gbia kambe 

ho, 
I f ^ be ngi bwambu. 
1 li lOni. 

Ngi l^i a gbia kambe hQ. 
A bfiyo, 

Ke i gbund^a ma. 
Ke ngi loi i lea ndia, 
Ke i ktltl (kutu = short) 

na i lo ngeleya. 



The white man too (said). This 
girl's mother has been howling 
at me for two days ; 

He said, her mother is making 
this weeping. 

He said, I will send her hack to- 
morrow. 

And the woman dreamt of the 
white man, 

(That) he said. Gome to-morrow 
and sing at your child's grave. 

He said, I will let her come to 
yon. 

And the woman dreamt. 

At daybreak she spoke to no- 
body. 

And she went. 

And she too took a mat. 

And she took a rattle, 
And she took the mortar, 
And she went to the grave. 
She stood the mortar on the 

grave. 
And she spread the mat on the 

grave, 
And she held up the rattle. 
And she sang. 
She said, Ms^woni ! 
She said. Go to^lay to the Bondo 

bush ! Manwoni, come 1 
And her child came out of the 

grave, 
as far as its arm-pits. 
She did not restrain her heart. 
Her child comes out of the grave. 
It is not finished, 
But she embraced her. 
And her child was cut in half. 
And part remained above ground. 



STORIES. 261 

Ke navQi i gbia, And the money came out, 

Ke i maluv6a a kgnde guti And it changed into half of the 

na kamb6 ma. mortar on the grave. 

^ya^pQi na ge na mia wo That was the fate of that woman. 

TolQ i nyandeni. Jealousy is not good. 



XVIL 



The Dream tliat vcmished throiujh Disobedience, 



Tamo mia wo. 

Ta Dgi mbanga ti li njei hu. 

Ti kpele kaha ti yeya. 

A mba-le kp^i. 

Ti hijia, 

TiU, 

Ti fO njeima. 

Dole gbongo ngi la. 

I kpohui gbia ngi gahei 

mahu, 
I me, 

Ngi gOi ve. 
Ili, 

Ke i ligbi ngi gaheima, 
Ke i ya, 
Ke i yinga. 
A yini ke i henga. 
Ke i gbia tawaihii. 
Ke i ya ta mahei gama. 

Ke ta mai i iQnga angle. 

Ke i ngi gonga a nyaha. 
Ye, mu hei na mbe. 
Ye, ba ya 11 wu yei. 

Fa, nya loi ji JQ. 

DOpQl belango. 

Ta mSi ye, ngi kurua. 



There was once a man. 

He and his friends went to the 

water. 
All of them had baskets. 
It was cutting time. 
They got up. 
They go, 

They reach the water. 
His mouth was very hunger. 
He took the flour from the top of 

his basket. 
He ate, 

His belly was filled. 
He went, 

And he leaned against his basket, 
And he went. 
And he slept. 
As he slept he dreamt. 
And he went out of the town. 
And he went to the king of the 

town. 
And the king of the town liked 

him. 
And he gave him a wife. 
He said. You stay here with us. 
He said, Do not go back to your 

country. 
So marry my daughter. 
The girl is full grown. 
The man said, I accept. 
262 



STORIES 



263 



Ke ta be mani yatemo 

angle. 
I li dogboi ha. 
I mani yate hu guhango. 
Jiei ji nygko na a li Takwa. 



Ke i ya, 

Ke i kotu wai mal6a. 

Koti belengo 

Kea nu vu na. 

Ke man! i yat^a, 

Ke i gboyoa. 

Ngelewo i li na. 

Ke i hue! wa pu a ngend6 

na. 
Ke i lew6a la. 
Ke i gbianga kotI mahu. 
Koti ye, Kpana ! 
I wQte. 
I moli, ye, 
Yo njiei leni ? 
Ye, nya le. 
Ye, bia bi ye 1 
Ye, nya na kotl. 
Ye, gbele? 
Ye, ba li a huel na. 

Ye, gbe? nya kei. 
Ye, fe be gi me. 

Ye, ga bi bate lo. 
Hingdei na dogboi na hu i 

gua na f q yira ; 
Ifumu gbi ta ngu ta gba- 

hama. 
Ye, huei ve ngi me. 
Ga bi bat^ lo. 
Ye, nya kel ! 



Now he was a trap setter. 

He went into the bush. 

He made a trap far away. 

The journey was as far as Tarkwa 

(i.e. from Sekondi^, Gold 

Coast). 
And he went, 
And he met a large rock. 
The rock was bearded 
Like a living person. 
And he constructed the trap, 
And ib was finished. 
At daybreak he went there. 
And he killed ten beasts on that 

morning. 
And he passed on. 
And he came out on the rock. 
The rock said, Kpana ! 
He turns. 
He asks, saying, 
Who spoke ? 
It said, It is I. 
He said, Who are you 1 
It said, I am the rock. 
He said, What is the matter 1 
It said. Do not take away that 

meat. 
He said, What is it, my father 1 
It said. Give it here for me to 

eat. 
It said, I will make you rich. 
(That affair in the bush had 

lasted now one year; 
Everybody got tired of trying to 

wake him.) 
It said, Give me the meat to eat 
I will make you rich. 
He said, My father ! 



^ The story was told me at Sekondi. 



264 



THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



Ye, nga hnei ji fe biye. 

Ye, Dgi wa lo jiei ho. 

Ta m^ei i ngi l^i vea mbe, 

Ye, ngi jqIo. 

Ke nya va navo gbl ni yeya 

( = nya yeya). 
Mani yatemo bama angS. 
Huei ji mia ga pa, 
Ga fe mahei we. 
Tamia nga pile nya hingdei 

a ne ngi lihu, 

A gbwe ngi iQi ji hinda ma 
mbe. 

Ye, ba gili a nd. 

Ke ndakpaloi ke i huei vea 

kQti ye, hua ptu 
Kpele gbl koti a na wile a 

dakpaloi na. 
Ke ti ndakpaloi nyahei wua 

SandihO. 
Gau nani i Sandi hu. 

Hani gbl dakpaloi i f e nya- 

ha garni. 
DakpalOi i wa dogboi hu 

kQti gama. 
Ye, keke. 
Ye, be wo ba nya baQlo. 

Ye, tia nya nyahei gbiama 

Sandi ha. 
Ye, ba gili a nd. 
Ye, ndgle ji gbele, ye, tQko 

nya yeya. 
Kgii i nde ndakpalQi ma, 
Ye, bi ya hli-i-yi fele, 
Bi wa nya gama. 
Ke i ya hd-i-yi fele. 



He said, I give you this meat. 
He said, I killed it on my journey. 
The king of the town gave me his 

daughter. 
He said I should marry her. 
And as for me I have no money. 

I am a poor trap setter. 

It is this meat I kill, 

So that I may give it to the king. 

Therefore I (try to) make my 

work (lit. affair) please his 

heart, 
(Because) he has left alone (said 

nothing about) his daughter's 

affair. 
It said. Do not trouble about that. 
And the young man gave the meat 

to the rock, ten beasts. 
Every time the rock did so with 

that young man. 
And they put the young man's 

wife into the Sandi bush. 
She was four months in the Sandi 

bush. 
The young man gave nothing for 

the woman. 
The young man came into the 

bush to the rock. 
He said. My father, 
You said before you would set me 

up (lit. cure). 
He said. They are bringing my 

wife out of the Sandi bush. 
It said, Do not trouble about that. 
It said, All this country, he said, 

their hand belongs to me. 
The rock said to the young man, 
He said. Go away for two days, 
(And) come to me. 
And he went away for two days. 



STORIES 



265 



Ke fgli ji nyaha ta Sandi 

gbia. 
Ke i ya koti gama. 
Ye, keke ! 
Ye, bS wo, bS, nga gili a na. 

Ye, ngi wa. 

Ye, ma ye pe na 1 

Koti ye, ng5 wo ga bi bawQ 

lo. 
Ye, ba gili a nd. 
Ye, bi yama li ('= liwi). 
Ye, bi bawo vQlO-gbia ha. 

Ke i ngi yama liwia. 
Ye, bi yama wq. 
I ngi yama wQ. 
NavQ gahei hondo fere. 

Ye, Kpana ! 

Ye, ngg wo ga bi bawQ lo. 

Ye, bi bawQ volo-gbia ha. 

Ye, bi yama w(?, 
Mbogbe wa ngeya. 

Ye, bi nguli l5 hondo fere. 

I nguli Is hondo fere. 

Ye, bi yama li. 

I ngi yama li. 

Nu vu hondo fele na. 

I maluvia hinga hondo 

yira; 
Guru hondo yila i pekei na 

kpele ti maluve a nya- 

hanga. 
Ye bi yama wo. 
Ke Kpana i ngi yama wo. 
Ti kpele nunga atie. 



And this day the woman comes 

out of the Sandi bush. 
And he went to the rock. 
He said, Father ! 
He said. You said before, saying, 

I was not to trouble about it. 
He said, I come. 
He said. What are we to do now ? 
The rock said, I said before I will 

save you. 
It said. Do not trouble about it. 
It said, Shut your eyes. 
It said. You will be all right at 

sunrise to-day. 
And he shut his eyes. 
It said. Open your eyes. 
He opened his eyes. 
There were two hundred baskets 

of money (there). 
It said, Kpana ! 
It said, I said before I will save 

you. 
It said. You are all right at sun- 
rise to-day. 
He said, Open your eyes, 
There was a big cutlass in his 

hand. 
It said, Cut two hundred sticks. 
He cut two hundred sticks. 
It said, Shut your eyes. 
He shut his eyes. 
(And) two hundred living persons 

were there. 
It changed them, one hundred 

were men ; 
The other hundred sticks all 

changed into women. 

It said. Open your eyes. 
And Kpana opened his eyes. 
They were all persons. 



266 



THE MEXDE LANGUAGE 



KjqU i nde Kpaoa ma, 

Y5, ngg WQ 

Ga bi bawo lo. 

Te, na vn hondo fere ji, 

Ye, li a tie. 

Ye, navQ gahei ji kpele. 

Ye, li atie, 

Li bi njahei gwela ( = gQli 

la). 
Ke i ya a kpi tei h€L 

IlL 

I njabei g(fli a nav^i na. 

Kotl i nde Kpana ma, ye, 
Njahei na, ye, ti fenga 

biye, 
Ye, wa ta a la 1q wayakpa, 

Bs aoro. 

Ye, Bi SQlonga, 

Ye, be gbate. 

Ke ta ta ti ya ti la. 

Ti yt lo wo fela 5 soro. 

Yi wayakpa bindi ma 

Ngi nyahei ye, 

Bi nya jole ( = joloi). 

Nga gbele lo bima, 

Ke i songa, 

Ke i wunga. 

I heni kahei bu njela. 

Aye i ngi wQma gbele, 
Kula gahi na wq ngi wOma, 

Kpele i lula, 

Kahibui lulanga wOma. 



The rock said to Kpana, 

Saying, I said before 

I would set yoa iqn 

It said. These 200 living persons. 

It said. Take tbem. 

It said. All these money baskets. 

It said. Take them. 

Go and pay for your wife with 

them. 
And he took them all into the 

tOWIL 

He goes. 

He pays for his wife with that 

money. 
The rock said to Kpana, saying. 
It said. That woman that they 

have given you. 
It said, Yoa and she lie together 

eight days, 
(But) yoa must not join with 

her. 
It said. If you join. 
It said. You will not be rich. 
And he and she went and lay 

down. 
They slept seven days, and he did 

not join with her. 
On the eighth day at night 
His wife said, 
If you do not join with me 
I will leave you. 
And he joined with her. 
And he woke up. 
He sat under the basket at the 

waterside. 
When he looked behind, 
His cloth and the basket that he 

had before on his back. 
Had all rotted, 
The bottom of the basket had 

rotted on his back. 



STORIES 



267 



Ka mia, nu layia gbialahu 

1 nyandeni. 
A koti na layiahli wQ 

A gbate lo. 

Ke T ngi layia-hui wq. 

Tamia i wile i nyani. 

Na wQina yira, i hengd wo 

6 Igma. 
Dapoi i hengd wi'e ( = wile) 

na a lOma wo, 
Hengd gbl numu a pi'e 

(pUe) a Igma. 



So it was, disobedience was not 

good. 
If he had listened to the Bock's 

word 
He would have been rich. 
But he did not listen to what it 

said. 
So it came about that he became 

poor. 
Once again what he dreamed of 

did not remain. 
If what the young man had 

dreamed of had remained, 
Everything a person dreamed of 

would remain (as a fact). 



XVIII. SOXGS. 



Xo8. II. to VIII. hy a Panguma man. 

I. 

When joa see the bosh shake it 

is we. 
So ! yoa have not come ! 
And yoa are left, is it not so t 

(Sang by women in the Bondo bash.) 

So, an important personage in the Bondo bosh. 

II. 

7 in a monotone. - 

Ah ! he sings, my lover, yes, 

indeed! 
We are an ignorant boy, we come 
into the hoase, 

(he tarns to the wall ; 
he scratches his craw-craw ; 
he does so plenty.) 
No dirt is on me, my mother bore 

me long ago, 
No dirt is on me, my head lay 
As in a pillow 
Spotlessly clean. 

Ah, he sings, my lover, yes, 
indeed! 

yia wi = ? precise rendering, 
i hi = e hiye, indeed, 

craw-craw = a skin disease. 

III. 

Mba nya. My fellow wife. 

Langa vali ga gbia ga hema I pall cassada, I do so twice. 

fele. 
Gbengbe kunya, kunya, A big bundle, it comes ! it comes! 

kunya I it comes ! 

268 



Dogboi a ye jiji moa le. 

So ! bi wani-oh, eh ! 
Ke bi 1(^, kere f 



Lines 2 to 
Yia wi yandova i hi ! 

Mua bOwo lOpO maa peba, 

i wOte pema ; 

i nQwe yange we ; 

i we wa. 
Ka T nyama, nya nje nya 

le WQ, 
Ka i nyama nya wai lani 
Kia gali hu {in bass voice) 
Gali wango (even low voice). 
Yia wi yandova i hi (highr 
pitcli^d voice). 



SONGS 



269 



Nya = nyaha. 

Kunya^ a word used when pulling up something by the roots 
that breaks the ground. 

IV. 

JO-le hinde na-oh ! There is a deserted place there ! 

Jo-li na ge ! Show me that deserted place ! 

Line 1 by a man ; line 2 by a woman. 

jQle, joli = different pronunciation of definite form of njola, 
desolation, etc. 

V. 



A lekpe mbe gl nya yengele 
goe je yakdma. 

Nyahei i le ngeleya. 



Bola tgwe, bola tQwe, kpa- 

ngba ta ! 
Di mbe-oh, gemoi ! dimbe ! 

ga li dogbo ma. 



Give me a chance (or place) to 
picb my "crincre" at the 
water side. 

The woman cannot climb up (a 
tree). 

VI. 

O pumpkin neck, pumpkin neck, 

big pumpkin 1 
Beat me, drummer, beat me. I 

am going into the bush. 



Translation is as given by the singer, 

neck may be rendered vine or runner, 
di = ndewe. 
kpangba ta = doubtful, 
gemoi = doubtful. 



Sombo ! bia na, i ye, ey e, 

e ? {deep voice), 
Bagoe ! Sombo ! biana i 

hiyel 
Jama ! bia na ey e, e 1 
Nyahali jama ! bia na i 

hiye 1 {rising voice), 

Sombo, woman's name. 
ey e, e has no meaning, 



VII. 
Sombo ! how are you ] 

how 



you 



Bagoe ! Sombo ! 

indeed? 
Chief, how are you ? 
Jealous chief, how are you indeed? 

Bagoe, man's name. 



270 THE MENDE LANGUAGE 



vm. 

O ma ngewo g6 jondu ge- O God ! I swear not bj heaven, 

lema hoDgS ! O God ! 

Nyangbawula ! ba to gei Njangbawola ! yon see I swear 

jondo ngilime hongS. not by heaven, O Grod ! 

Ngi namubo, ga gula koti- If I slip, I do not fall on the stone 

ma be, honge ! here, O God ! 

O ma ngewo, g5 jondu O God, I swear not by heaven, O 

gilima, hongS ! God ! 

Nyangbawula = a man's name. 



IX. 

Ngi gbate-oh, nga ha lo. I am rich (and) I shall die. 

Bi nyani-oh, ba ha lo. You are poor and you will die. 



X. 

Sung at the Skipping Rope. 

E, E, ye ! e, e, ye ! e Gbwa- E, E, ye 1 e, e, ye ! Eh ! Gbwando. 

ndo. 
MugbS go, e, e, ye ! e, e, ye! Let us play, e, e, ye ! e, e, ye I 

Gbwando = a man's name. 



XI. 

Sung at the Skipping Rope, 

Kg KOndO 1 KOndQ ! Hi ! Grasshopper ! Grasshopper ! 

Ma wue ! mu dOnga-oh. I and you, we stand up (together). 



SONGS 271 



XII. 

Sung at the Skipping Hope, 

Gbo ! Nina a pe a ko ve a What ! the rat looks into the iron 
hugbe lo i hite. pot before getting into it. 

Ko = kolu, iron. 



XIII. 

Sung at the Skipping Rope, 

Hagbe wu' go nyenye vi i ! O you with a leg as thin as a 

gazelle's ! 
Beply — I yale ! gbe i ya'e. If it break, let it break. 
Nya mbe ! It is my own I 

I yale ! gbe i ya'e. If it break, let it break. 

Hagbe wulQi gowe. Ya'e = yale. 

Vii= ] 



Richard Clay ft Sons, LimitbDi 

BREAD STREET HILL, E.C., AND 
BUNOAT, SUFFOLK. 



^^^ LIBRARIES 

To avdianne, tms book should be returned on 
or before the date last stamped below 



1850(>1 



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